'When East Meets West' - Alumni Profile: Jimmy Robinson, BA Chinese Studies with Business Management 2011

— 09.12.15

by Simon Spode

Interview October 2015

Jimmy studied a BA in Chinese Studies with Business Management, and graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2011. We caught up with him to see what he's been up to since...

What did you do after graduating from Sheffield University?
After graduating from Sheffield in 2011 I was searching for different job opportunities, I decided to enter the world of Recruitment, as I felt this would give me access to lots of different industries and the types of career progression opportunities available in different organisations. Because of my language skills I was given a job with the UK’s top recruitment company Michael Page, who flew me out to Beijing to work for them there.

After working there for a while and gaining a greater insight into the different opportunities available to me I moved to work with M&C Saatchi in Beijing. I started as an Account Executive but was quickly promoted to Account Planner, my role was to understand the Chinese consumer mindset and apply this to the creative work our team was producing.

Being a native English speaker I was then also tasked with Account Management for our international clients based in Beijing in order to streamline communication. Thanks to my language skills gained at Sheffield I was given opportunities that most people would have to wait many years to be afforded.

How does advertising in China differ from the West?
The Chinese market place is very different from the West, whereas western consumers like information presented in a simple manner, Chinese consumers prefer more information in ad campaigns to better informed decisions and aid them in their purchase process.

I worked with some top brands during my time in Beijing in both Michael Page and M&C Saatchi, some of these include Apple, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Bentley, VW, Intel amongst others. I do not think I would ever have been able to work with such prestigious clients had it not been for the skills I acquired during my time in Sheffield and the strong reputation the University of Sheffield has.

Can you tell us a bit more about your company?
July 2013, I created PingPong Digital along with two cofounders to help companies in the UK connect with Chinese consumers through popular Chinese digital communication platforms. Given that Facebook, Twitter, Google etc are all inaccessible in mainland China and the difficulties in communicating in Chinese, I felt it was necessary to create a company that could overcome these hurdles and offer simple solutions that would allow UK businesses to access the worlds top economic power, and largest consumer marketplace, China. In just a very short period of time we have become one of the top digital agencies in our field, with an office in the UK and a newly opened office in Shanghai, China, and have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing companies and brands.

“We offer simple solutions that allow UK businesses to access the world's top economic power, and largest consumer marketplace... In just a very short period of time we have become one of the top digital agencies in our field.”

Jimmy Robinson

What have been the largest challenges you've faced with the business?
Setting up a new business is never easy, we started with no investment and no existing business models to follow, we were a new company in a new industry and had to create everything from scratch. This has been the fun part but also the challenging part as weren’t always sure how our services or processes would be perceived, fortunately we overcame these challenges to create something truly awesome.

What do you remember most about your time in Sheffield?
How friendly and welcoming the city and University was. I was given opportunities in Sheffield that I never thought possible before, such as running the Sheffield University Chinese society in my final year, and interacting with ambitious bright people from all around the world, all of whom I am still in contact with today.

What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to grow my business to become a true industry leader in all things digital, not only in the UK but also in China, and we are constantly looking at new ways we can set ever higher standards in our industry. I have an awesome team of talented people who are passionate and driven to see PingPong Digital succeed, so the future is looking very bright indeed for us!


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