Everyone wants to read about China, I tell the 18 Shanghai reporters who are looking to me for guidance on how to write for an international audience.
In fact they are already writing for a huge Chinese readership, but now they are going to turn their hand to writing in English about the Chinese domestic chemicals markets which they know so well.
Acrylo, oxos and capro are among the new English-language reports ICIS is launching together with its jv partner CBI under the name ICIS/Chemease in May, and that’s why I’m working in our Shanghai office with the editorial team this week.
The first thing that hits you in the eye is that this is an enormous team. They are on the phone and MSN messenger every minute of the day – they write weekly, daily, realtime online and SMS alerts. They report, they analyse, they forecast. And they are mad keen and a joy to work with.
We’ve already launched 14 English language ICIS/Chemease reports on China. The first batch including the biggest markets – polyethylene, methanol, styrene – went live in February, and we have a separate training session today for the other 16 reporters who have already got some international experience under their respective belts.
I’ve learnt a lot from them. I’ve learnt that by contrast to the short attention spans of the West, readers in China enjoy a long read. The longer, the better. They have an infinite appetite for lists of individual producers’ offer prices. If you sent them a condensed report, they would feel short-changed.
They like long sentences, with lots of subordinate clauses and commas, and plenty of synonyms.
They like to be called numerous times a day, and just like European industry players, are happy to spend more time talking about their holidays than their chemical business.
Our training session today is in the main boardroom where there is an arresting group portrait taken in 2006 of around 400 of the CBI staff arranged in lines in the sun-filled atrium of the building. The girls are in baby pink polo shirts, and the boys in royal blue. I love this portrait. It inspires me during my presentation.
I can just picture the ICIS London team in the same pose, maybe in the light-filled Starbucks in the atrium of the ICIS building.
Click here for full details of the ICIS/Chemease China reports, as well as free trials.