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In preparation for a report on researching the Asia Pacific region, I am discovering a landscape in spring time where new signs of life are quietly shooting out of the ground: New information resources in local languages, especially in Chinese. Most well-established data aggregators in the West show lists of sources that demonstrate the authenticity, authority and reliability of their data. That has been working well especially in the West as the sources are often known firms or reputable research and media brands in relevant industries and regions. Although it’s nothing new that a number of western information companies have well established operations and services covering the emerging markets, contents in local languages are limited not only in scope but also in metadata tagging which has an enormous impact on retrieval and use. Jim Hammond, Managing Director of ISI Emerging Markets http://www.securities.com/ which provides access to extensive local language contents, said that tagging Chinese-only contents is “a challenge for all of us in the industry”. Using tried-and-true established criteria to evaluate whether a source is reputable and worth to be recommended does not always work in the Asia Pacific region. Besides a small number of Western or Western-influenced data providers, there are countless new sources in emerging markets like China. It even occurred to me that we might need to ask the question of how the word “source” should be defined. Market and consumer information is prevailing across the web and even search engines can’t resist peaking the “golden nuggets” of consumer behavior through search streams (more about this in the next post). Although many of the new market intelligence providers offer reports primarily in Chinese and have little track records, both the quality and the volume of contents available are eye-opening. Driven by the continued double-digit economic growth in China, the demand for research and analysis is increasing dramatically, so is the competition. Some innovative start-ups will grow in scale and speed while others may disappear or be transformed. Some of the small players today could emerge in the big game tomorrow and disruptive changes in areas such as cross-language tagging may well be inevitable.

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