Jason King - Apple’s "Brand Lead - Greater China Marcom"

Jason King

London School of Economics, Cambridge University graduate 

Former General Manager in BBDO Hong Kong  

Now Apple’s  "Brand Lead - Greater China Marcom"

With over a decade of working experience in GBA and other cities in the Mainland 

Fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English 

1. What were your inspirations and dreams when starting out after graduation?

JK: I was always intrigued by human psychology and behaviour and how these affect the economy and other aspects of life. That’s why I studied economics back in school. After graduation, I worked in L’Oreal as a marketing intern, then in a 4A advertising agency and that’s why I get fascinated by the world of advertising and marketing. The sheer amount of creativity, innovation, emotion that go into each piece of work astonished me. I wanted to create memorable creative works for myself and those around me, that’s what got me started out in the field, and you could say that was my "dream" when I was young. 

2. You were educated overseas and lived in a lot of places, what made Mainland China and Hong Kong your choice for working for the most part of your career and your home today?

JK: Hong Kong has a mixed culture and it has such an abundance of hardworking and inspiring people. Working in Hong Kong was one of my busiest but also happiest days of working. Mainland China - well, it is the pinnacle of innovation  in recent years, the (technology) evolution in there and how it affects the world is a fascinating story for me too so I want to experience it firsthand. I still remember the days when Shenzhen was a little more than a place for a bargain shopping spree, Shanghai was nowhere near the status it is now internationally. The progress in our country is mind numbing in the past decade or so. I was attracted by the exponential growth, so I want to work there. 

3. Were there any cultural shocks when you first started working in the Mainland?

JK: It wasn’t exactly a shock per se, I did learn a few big lessons when I was working in the Mainland China though. For example, there are cultural differences between different parts of the Mainland, like the Southern and the Eastern parts (Shanghai). But in the Western world, they more or less have a set of universal ways of working and thinking, so you’d probably have no problem jumping from Europe to the United States or the United Kingdom. In the Mainland, you’re dealing with such vast differences in city dynamics, economics, slangs, work cultures in different cities, it’s both a challenge and fun experience to say the least. 

4. A lot of young Hong Kong people are preparing or are already working in the GBA or the Mainland China, what advice would you give them? 

JK: In all honesty, Hong Kong talents in general are highly efficient and still possess the edge of having an international vision compared to Mainland talents. The key is to keep yourself mentally equipped to learn the local culture and be creative in your way of working. For Hong Kong youths, I think they can  add value to whatever they do in different industries, be it in finance, creative or technology. Once they are acquainted with the local culture and know the ins and outs, combined with other qualities they have, I believe Hong Kong young people have high potential to excel in the Mainland. Don’t be overconfident and certainly don’t feel privileged, be humble, work hard and work smart. Talents in the Mainland are all super hard-working and it’s the basic thing there. The number of bright, young, inspiring talents in the Mainland is astonishing, the pace of work is also very akin to Hong Kong or even faster. By excelling in the Mainland markets, you will be able to become a world-class talent. 

5. What are the most enjoyable pastimes or fun activities you’d recommend when going to study or work in the Mainland? 

JK: Definitely is to go and explore the latest "attractions" in the city and keep an eye out for new places that fit your personal hobbies. What I mean is that in Mainland China, you’ll find the best  venues for every hobby you can imagine. I love soccer and snooker, and you can find the most beautiful, well-equipped, most spacious place for these in Shanghai and Shenzhen. No matter what’s your hobby, there’s bound to be a new or impressive venue for it, and that’s definitely worth checking out. Music and entertainment are also must-tries, it means going to shows and events in whatever city you’re in as there are shows and large events that happen almost every week. Maybe not during recent months due to COVID, but you can always  join big city events and get to know the place in the future. Also go out and meet people, you’ll fall in love with a city just by knowing its people, just like in Hong Kong. Young people in all the cities are very nice, very eager to get to know you and certainly worthwhile to build a network for yourself.