Mingyian To Connect US Celebs With Fans In China

3 July 2013 12 h 14 min Comments Off

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(MINGYIAN, Jul 02, 3013) A China brand management startup for western celebrities and influencers, has closed a $500K seed round to develop the first micro-event platform for celebrities to host online events that engage, grow, and monetize their fan base in the Chinese market. Investors include RRE Ventures, #DominateFund, Oscar-Nominated Hollywood Director M. Night Shyamalan, Foley Ventures, and Eric Yao, a senior executive at one of China’s largest energy companies.

“RRE is proud to back Mingyian as it builds its business in one of the most dynamic markets in the world.  As athletes, entertainers and other celebrities discover the vast branding opportunities in China, we are confident that the distinguished and deeply experienced Mingyian team, which links its base in New York with an extensive presence in China, will be the partner of choice for these clients,” said John R. Haas, partner at RRE Ventures.

“There are huge opportunities in the Chinese market, and Mingyian is the team to seize them. Every brand and entertainer that wants to make an impact in China needs to work with Mingyian,” said Ben Parr, Co-Founder of #DominateFund.

China is the largest online market in the world, with approximately 600M users today, and an expected 800M by 2015. However, since most Western social media and content platforms are blocked in China due to the Great Firewall, US celebrities are unable to communicate with their Chinese audience and are therefore losing out on their full global market potential. “Mingyian helps celebrities and their teams replicate their marketing efforts, and with our micro-event platform, they can finally access Chinese fans and consumers in a way they never could before. It’s a no brainer,” said Jenny Bai, Co-Founder and CEO.

In addition to Shyamalan, Mingyian’s celebrity roster includes: Brett Ratner, Director of X-Men: The Last Stand, Prison Break, and Rush Hour 1 and 2; Gilbert Arenas, three-time NBA All-Star, who played for the Shanghai Sharks in 2012; Warren G, aka The Regulator; Paula Abdul; YouTube phenomenon, Wong Fu Productions, whose YouTube Channel has 1.7 million subscribers and over 262 million video views; Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s Shark Tank, are among many others specifically relevant to the China market.

“An important part of the work is selecting the right talent for the platform. Mingyian understands which high profile individuals are trending in China given a variety of data from both the US and China across many industries including sports, film, TV, music, business, thought leadership, etc.” said Rebecca Eydeland, Co-Founder and President.  “Other platforms have attempted to sync U.S. media of celebrities, but not in a way that focuses on Chinese audiences and market opportunities. Everything we build has the Chinese audience in mind.”

Mingyian also leverages its relationships with top Chinese online portals including Tencent, Sina, Tudou, Youku, as well as in-house TV shows developed for the China market.  Larry Namer, co-founder of E! Entertainment Television and Metan Development Group and winner of the prestigious Aaron Spelling Award said: “I joined as a co-founder of Mingyian because I believed it was a necessary and welcome enhancement of the activities my team and I have been conducting in China, like building a suite of TV and other entertainment assets. By adding the digital component with a focus on celebrity entertainers, Mingyian is able to offer the artists an unrivalled and unique opportunity – access to a massive online and TV audience in China, and strategy developed by in-house veterans of both the Hollywood and China markets.”

Mingyian’s micro-event platform will launch this Fall. Focused on improving engagement levels with the Chinese audience, it will give Mingyian celebrities the ability to host real-time online events, designed to engage fans through a series of activities that give them an opportunity to showcase their talent, connect with their role models, and meet-like minded peers.  “This is not just another fan site. This is about building a resource that not only recognizes the aspirations of Chinese youth, but turns them into real, meaningful opportunities, triggered by the people they admire the most. Simultaneously, celebrities are going to see much higher engagement, which will return greater growth across their brand as a whole” said Bai.

“The ultimate vision is that the platform will eventually present a solution for brands, ranging from those looking to enter the China market to large multinationals already in China but looking for ways to differentiate,” said Eydeland. “They won’t just be integrating into commercialized tweets or buying search ads. They will be entering into an active celebrity ecosystem in China that is dynamic, organic, and trustworthy, so they can finally convert these massive fan audiences into consumers.”

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