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KMT’s Hau Lung-bin did NOT promote Deaflympics Taipei 2009 as he claimed

24/10/2009

On 22 October, Yang Hui-ju and Taipei City Councillor, Yen Sheng-kuan, disclosed some shocking news on Yang’s radio programme.

Earlier this year, Taipei City hosted the Deaflympics 2009. The Taipei Mayor, Hau Lung-bin, (Chinese Nationalist Party) claimed that his administration and the Taipei Deaflympics Committee would make Taiwan more visible to the whole world. Hau’s administration allocated approximately US$7.7 million (NT$250 million) for publicity and promotion, which far exceeded what the World Games in Kaohsiung got for PR. After the event, a poll found that 80% of Taiwanese believed that Deaflympics in Taipei promoted Taiwan’s image internationally.

However, after Yen reviewed the spending, she found that Hau’s administration and the Taipei Deaflympics Committee only spent NT$1 million (US$ 30,700) on international promotion and the rest was actually spent domestically. What was meant by ‘international’ was a press conference in Hong Kong. Yen checked all the press reports she could find following that press conference, almost none of the reports mentioned Deaflympics in Taipei. Most of them emphasised that the HK Governor expressed his wish to set up a representatives office in Taiwan.

Yen went on to say that the Taipei City Government claimed that that press conference attracted 12,000 HK tourists to Taiwan but the administration did not even promote the even in other neighbouring countries such as Japan and South Korea. Few Japanese and South Korean knew that Taiwan was hosting the event. Yang Hui-ju googled Deaflympics in Taipei and found that the international press coverage was almost none. Hau’s administration claimed that the reception of Deaflympics in Taipei was only second to the Beijing Olympics 2008. However, Yen found out that it was only broadcast by the Hong Kong based network, Phoenix TV.

Hau Lung-bin did far worse with Deaflympics than Chen Chu with the World Games in Kaohsiung where it was broadcast in 20 other countries and the Kaohsiung administration and KOC visited several countries (e.g. China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, the USA etc.) to promote the World Games. News reports related to the World Games (inc. the stadium and Taiwanese people’s enthusiasm) appeared in various major international media such as New York Times etc. Hau only visited Hong Kong, China to promote Deaflympics (funny how the KMT’s ‘world’ only consists of China), neglecting all other countries, did a lousy job with international press and spent the majority of the PR budget on deceiving Taiwanese about his efforts in this, promoting his own image possibly for the next Mayoral election.

Another Taipei City Councillor, Chou Po-ya, also provided information on another ridiculous spending. At the closing ceremony, all participants, guests and everyone in the audience was given an LED tambourine as souvenir. Those tambourines were all made in China and each cost NT$ 250 (US$ 7.7). The total cost was about NT$60 million (US$1.9 million), more than what they spent on international promotion. Also, Taiwan is the biggest and the best manufacturer of LED related products. Why did Hau’s administration have to buy from another country? Funnily enough, a lot of people complained about theirs being of poor quality and dead soon afterwards.

Yen gave another example of weird spending which needs explaining. The Taipei Deaflympics spent NT$ 7.5 million renting a projector which would only cost NT$ 4 million to buy. Yang raised the question of corruption or embezzlement because no one would spend, say, NT$ 80,000 (US$ 2,500) renting a TV set for 3-4 days when they could buy and own a brand new one with NT$ 50,000 (US$ 1,500).

Yen explained that it has been very difficult to get any details from Hau’s administration and Taipei Deaflympics Committee. Taipei Deaflympics Committee refused to offer City Councillors the details of their budget and spending during preparation and the actual event. After it ended, they only provided very sketchy information and the CEO, Emile Sheng, said that a report would be submitted a year later! This is just unheard of. I don’t know any organisation, governmental or not, would let anyone who received funding from them report 12 months after a project ends. So, what really went on there?

I checked a few major news outlets in Taiwan earlier today. NO one picked up on this story. I was wondering why they would let go of this. Jay reminded me of the KMT administration’s huge spending on placement marketing in the press. Due to the economic downturn and shrinking profits, the KMT government’s (central and local) placement marketing has become a huge source of income for some media companies and the press, in turn, would not embarrass their paymaster. I wonder how much of that US$ 7.7 PR budget was spent on placement marketing to promote Hau and ensure their silence on Taipei Deaflympics Committee and Hau’s administration’s blunders. I’ll keep an eye out for any relevant news reports over the next few days and I certainly hope Taipei City Councillors can find out more.

Update: Mr. Craig Ferguson brought to my attention that Hau actually also promoted Deaflympics in Europe although Hau didn’t actually visit Europe. This should be reliable because Mr. Ferguson participated in the activities and got paid for his work.

I did an online search, using different combinations of key words in both English and Mandarin. The reports I could find on his European promotion was only the Chinese version of EpochTimes.com (run by the Falun Gong group, suppressed by China). According to Yen Sheng-kuan, Taipei Deaflympics Committee had also organised meetings with the international media BUT this was not reflected in the amount of press coverage afterwards at all. Furthermore, Hau did not make ‘Taiwan’ more visible as they chose to call themselves ‘Chinese Taipei’. The World Games in Kaohsiung has shown us that they can say ‘Taiwan’ if they want to.

What Yang and Yen found still stands: the end results of the Hau administration’s PR are NOT as good as they claimed. They still did not visit as many countries for Deaflympics as the KOC for the World Games. Hau did not visit any country other than China. It was only broadcast by Phoenix TV but the World Games Kaohsiung was broadcast in 20 other countries. There are a lot of things Hau’s administration needs to clarify. Things were not fully reported or clearly listed in what they gave City Councillors. They spent a lot of money for very little results. Their work was not cost effective.

To back up the figures and the budget, I paste the link to another City Councillor, Chien Yuyen’s blog where she posted the scanned image of the budget.

Yang Hui-ju’s programme on 22 Oct. 2009

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 24/10/2009 11:09

    Well I was personally involved in events over three days in May that was done with the UK and Europe that was specifically intended to promote the Deaflympics (and that Hau and others attended). I don’t know what the total budget for it was, but I know what I invoiced for my time and expertise was substantial and I was only a very tiny part of it.

    You might want to do some fact-checking next time.

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      24/10/2009 18:11

      Hi,

      Given that you were personally involved, can you give more details on how exactly the budget was spent? Do you have more access than Taipei City Councillors?

      • 25/10/2009 04:42

        I have no idea how the budget was spent – I was hired directly through the production company that put on the event. The cost though to stage it major production that involved a cast/crew of well over 50 people and specialised, proprietary equipment, all of whom/which had to be flown in from Britain, had to have been quite high.

        Hau didn’t go to Europe, he brought Europe to Taipei.

  2. Claudia Jean permalink*
    25/10/2009 17:26

    Thanks for your clarification. So Yen and Yang were right about Hau not visiting any country other than China. They did mention that Hau invited foreign professionals to Taiwan but none of them capitalised in the actual press coverage. I’m sure it would have been quite expensive, flying all those people to Taiwan but the truth is Hau did not make Taiwan more visible than the World Games has done, certainly not as much as he claimed. It’s very well to say that they put in the work and a lot of money but at the end of the day, people (in this case, taxpayers) want to see actual results. Also, if they had US$7.7 in their budget, why couldn’t they do more and achieve more?

    • 26/10/2009 01:32

      I’m not really sure that it’s meant to be a competition with the World Games anyway. On a global scale, neither of them did much to increase Taiwan’s visibility because they’re both second-tier events.

      Yen and Yang may well be right that Hau only visited one country, but they obviously don’t have a very good idea of what international promotion and marketing is about. “Foreign professionals” is not a particularly accurate term for a media production company that has been responsible for some of the biggest events in the world over the past few years. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t privy to the total budget for that particular event but it would have been much closer to US$1million rather than NT$1million. Once the current terms of the licensing agreement I have with the media company expire later this year, I’ll post a few images from the event on my website (unless they re-license more exclusivity) and you’ll have a better idea of the scale of it.

      Yen and Yang seem to be more interested in political point scoring than anything else. If they knew anything about media and promotion on a global scale, they’d know US$7.7million doesn’t go far.

      • Claudia Jean permalink*
        26/10/2009 16:33

        In terms of the media work and international recognition, the World Games in Kaohsiung in Taiwan received much less funding than Deaflympics but did much better. Kaohsiung was more cost effective. No one wanted it to be a competition between the 2 events but people need a yardstick to compare things to and the World Games Kaohusing is naturally the one.

        If US$7.7 million couldn’t get that far, Hau shouldn’t have boasted about how much he achieved. He should have just been honest to the public about what he actually spent and achieved. His administration should be honest to City Councillors who have the power to oversee the City’s spending on behalf of the taxpayers.

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