Over the past six decades the People's Republic of China has suffered many tribulations. The cultural revolution, drought, famine, Tiananmen Square and SARS.

But never a shortage of public relations consultants.

Until now.

According to a survey by the China International Public Relations Association, the nation's PR trade enjoyed 32 percent revenue growth in 2003.

Industries experiencing the biggest demand for PR services are information technology, telecommunications, durable consumer products such as automobiles, and FMCG products. Demand is almost as brisk in the financial, real estate, medical, sports and culture sectors.

According to Serge Dumont, chairman of international consulting company Springford Investment, many Chinese enterprises have product quality equal to that of multinationals, but they lag in brand building and marketing.

The lack of such skills is most keenly felt among local companies seeking to gain a foothold in international markets. But despite the mouth-watering potential, there is still a shortage of PR professionals in China, avers Dumont.

[It is unreliably reported that jumbo-loads of eager gladhanders from the beleaguered occidental PR industry are already stacked in a queue above Beijing airport.]

Data sourced from: People's Daily (China); additional content by WARC staff