The Swedish pavillion at the Expo in Shanghai and Stefan Geens and I outside the Swedish pavillion.
Having officiallly launched Sweden.cn in Beijing on Saturday – our brand new site which is adapted to the Chinese audience to be relevant and interesting – it was time to fly to Shanghai to meet up with our local digital agency and to visit the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo 2010. After a day at the Expo I actually experience a bit of ”sensory overload” (in a good way). It ’s a bit like travelling around the world concentrated in one day, being exposed to so many cultures and impressions. And being a real ”foodie” you can experience the cuisine from the each country at many of the pavilions. How about a gourmet tasting menu at the roof top at the French pavilion. It’s to die for, I promise. There are so many amazing pavilions and exhibitions and it’s so curious how each country has interpreted the theme of the World Exhibition ”Better city, better life”. There is a lot of focus on sustainability issues of course, something which for obvious reasons is a common area of interest for countries all over the world. ”The spirit of innovation” is the theme of the Swedish pavillion which matches well with the overall theme of the World Expo. Having cooperated with the Swedish Expo team for over a year in terms of the digital strategy and presence, it was exciting to see the physical outcome of the Swedish efforts – wow! It was positive without being smug, focusing on solutions to environmental challenges. I especially liked that my personal hero ”Pippi Longstocking” (a great role model for girls and women ) played a mayor part in the exhibition.
By the way, if you are curious about the Swedish pavilion and don’t intend to head over to China in person, I suggest that you instead go for a digital visit: www.swedenexpo.cn The site even offers a virtual intro to the actual exhibition. Enjoy!
Savvy Sweden.cn mastermind Stefan Geens presenting the site in Beijing, China.
Two days ago Stefan Geens did a brief walk-through and introduced Sweden.cn to an excited audience. He has done this kind of presenting before. Some of you might remember the Swedish institute in Second Life? Here’s a presentation from the Second House of Sweden blog three years ago. So the Sweden.cn event was a success all together and the venue — D lounge in Beijing, China — had some 300 people crammed inside to watch.
So why is this so special you might ask. Web sites in China need local servers and web pages that works the way people there want them to. If you compare the sites you can identify a few differences. Language of course, but also navigation and pictues. Try Sweden.cn. Slow? Sweden.se works exactly the other way around from China, so local servers were really important.
The staff here in Stockholm has also been involved. Frida has been occupied with a bunch of administative and strategic matters, and Oliver with delivering the content to make the site really rich. And last but not least, Stefan Geens the project manager in Shanghai, China. He has had a key role in this project for sure.
Per and Stefan at the cafe “Book worms” in Beijing, preparing for tomorrow’s launch event .
So finally we finally got there! After approx one year, the project of producing a Chinese version of Sweden.se comes to an end with the official launch party for Sweden.cn. The event is being organised by the Swedish Embassy in Beijing tomorrow night, Saturday. It’s been a unique project as the site is not just a translation into Chinese but has been adopted to the Chinese target audience – in terms of design, images, editorial material, structure and navigation. Having said that, it’s of course the same ‘Sweden’ we communicate all over the world. We have just learnt that sometimes it’s necessary to ‘localize’ communications to be effective. We even have a server in China!
So what do I feel? A mixture of feelings: pride, excitement but also a slight pang of emptiness…it has been such an exciting project, lots of challenges (to say the least, I have been pulling my hair out at times) but also lots of new knowledge and insight into intercultural digital communications. The Chinese Internet community is unique and consists of almost 400 million users. Imagine the potential! China as a country is also extremely interesting. Now, we’ll focus on managing the website on an ongoing basis. Hopefully we’ll succeed in what is our assignment – to communicate Sweden in the Chinese digital environment.
Attending from the Sweden.se-staff is also Per who will be DJ:ing at the event (Cannot wait to see that:)). And Stefan Geens, the Project Manager for the whole shabang is flying in from Shanghai where he has been based for the last year. Let the celebration begin!…