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  • Hotstar’s honeymoon period is endingHarveen Ahluwalia
    Hotstar’s honeymoon period is endingEveryone gets the same message. Executives, mid-management and junior employees across departments. If it isn’t mentioned during the interviews, the HR folks make sure that the fresh hires know: “It’s a company that is unlike other consumer tech firms.” “‘We are challenging and taxing. Work is a priority especially when important projects like the IPL are on,” a former Hotstar employee recalls his days at the video streaming company. It doesn’t take more than a week to find out that “unlike other consumer tech firms” was the harsh truth and then some—a fact that the company keeps reminding you. At department meetings, at company town halls and every time you fail to achieve a target or execute a KRA. “You don’t forget, not even for a single day, Hotstar doesn’t let you,” says this person.
  • Disney’s new China conundrumFrankie Huang
    Disney’s new China conundrumShanghaiIt is not an exaggeration to say that Disney is a household name in China and synonymous with childhood and sweet nostalgia. Since Mickey Mouse’s first appearance on CCTV in 1986, Disney characters and their stories have been an important part of the collective childhood memory of Chinese people. Iconic characters like Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh made deep lasting impressions, partially because there were few domestic creativations that were as sophisticated and memorable in those early years after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Despite the inherently foreign Americanness Disney characters exuded, they became familiar and beloved friends to Chinese children. Disney came to be China’s undisputed “guardian of childhood” and arguably the most beloved Western brand in the entire country, not just for children, but also young adults like Steve and Dalila, who tend to be highly selective when it comes to brand loyalty. But as tension mounts between the US and China over trade, politics and human rights, it’s increasingly challenging for prominent brands like Disney to stay clear of these issues. In fact, no foreign brand in China can avoid contending with an unyielding authoritarian government more determined than ever to control every narrative on China, as well as consumers whose appetite for foreign goods are increasingly tempered by nationalistic pride. Can the House of Mouse accomplish this without tarnishing its potently wholesome brand image?
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