Entrepreneur reveals his secrets of Chinese mobile success
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Entrepreneur reveals his secrets of Chinese mobile success

MassiveImpact, an Israeli performance advertising firm for smartphones, is doing massively well in China despite the stock market woes there

MassiveImpact CEO Sephi Shapira (L) in an interview at Mobile World Congress, February 25, 2013 (Courtesy)
MassiveImpact CEO Sephi Shapira (L) in an interview at Mobile World Congress, February 25, 2013 (Courtesy)

Entrepreneurs who want to succeed in China can take a page from the playbook of Sephi Shapira, CEO of MassiveImpact. His mobile ad company is one of the most successful in China – and describing his secrets of success, Shapira said that it’s a matter of staying on top of things.

“It took us a long time to get to where we are,” Shapira told the Times of Israel. “In the beginning, I moved to China, and stayed there for years while I built the business, and a team I could work with and trust. Now I can concentrate on other projects, confident that the China business will succeed.”

Success for MassiveImpact means new deals with the top 10 mobile advertisers in China, including Baidu and Cheetah Mobile. Following the strong growth trends in its Chinese mobile advertising revenue, MassiveImpact is expanding, and is today one of the biggest mobile ad companies in China.

It is also, said Shapira, the world’s biggest performance advertising firm for mobile – meaning that in order for the company to get paid, it needs a user to do something beyond looking at an ad, such as download something, fill in a form, etc. MassiveImpact ads daily reach more than 1 billion mobile internet users from 190 countries.

“The growth in Chinese household wealth in urban areas and the swelling middle class has already caused some to call China the world’s largest luxury consumer market, and it is forecast to continue growing,” said Shapira. “Brands are trying to reach these users and MassiveImpact’s performance advertising model, that charges advertisers for conversions and not clicks, means that the company is able to tap into the Chinese consumption boom without having to worry about ad fraud and wasted ad spend.”

Today, MassiveImpact works with top-tier Chinese firms, which are by now quite Western in their outlook and behavior. But it wasn’t always like that; a few years ago (MassiveImpact was established in 2010), Shapira was just starting out in the business in China and dealing with the “real China,” the insular one that doesn’t speak English and much prefers to work with fellow Chinese.

“We had to come to a point where the customers saw us as a local company,” said Shapira. “That meant developing a staff on the ground that could communicate with customers.” Now, the customers MassiveImpact works with are much more “worldly,” and the firm is firmly ensconced in the Chinese mobile market.

And Shapira plans to keep MassiveImpact right where it is – firmly ensconced in China. “The rumors of an ailing economy in China are grearly exaggerrated,” said Shapira. “We didn’t feel any impact from the country’s recent economic troubles, like the devaluation and the stock market crash. In fact, the third quarter of 2015 was our biggest ever in China, and the fourth looks like it will even pass that.

“The large Chinese companies are not as affected by these problems as the smaller businesses and smaller investors are,” said Shapira. “They are sitting on a lot of cash, and it will take a lot more to make them feel as if there is a sense of crisis. Meanwhile we expect to continue to grow at a very good pace.

“There are an estimated 913 million smartphones in use in China and companies are looking to not only connect with them, but to also create new revenue,” added Shapira. “We’re excited to partner with our customers and create mobile advertising programs that will deliver results in mainland China and around the world.”

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