Google pulled out from China with a shudder over seven years ago. But today, as China continues its ascent to the position of global leader in emerging technologies, Google is savvy enough to maintain its presence. In this case, that meant bringing on MC Jin as a brand ambassador.
The heavyweight Asian-American MC recently shot back into the limelight in the breakout TV hit Rap of China, where he competed as the masked HipHopMan (obviously we had to interview him). After that, he picked up a commercial gig for Alibaba’s Alipay app, so it makes sense that Google would follow suit. Jin is the perfect intersection of China, the West, youthful coolness, and veteran sensibility.
The ad focuses on Google Translate’s Word Lens feature, which translates written text seen through the phone’s camera. The technology has the potential to be a hit for China’s increasingly mobile and globally-curious upper class, but the road ahead won’t be a cakewalk for Google. China’s own tech giants have grown from cheap imitations to power players in their own right, and whether or not our favorite search-engine-based-tech-company will be able to find a home for itself in the new conditions remains to be seen.