18 July 2018

Becoming an international marketer and global citizen | Study With New Zealand

Jessica Miao
Chinese graduate

Jessica’s studies in New Zealand have assisted her to lead her own cross-cultural marketing company, United Media Solutions, to success.

“Whilst I was studying in New Zealand I learnt a great deal about the culture and local environment, lessons that have really assisted me in leading United Media Solution, our cross-cultural digital company which specialises in helping international companies succeed in China,” she said. 

Jessica studied Mass Communications at the University of Canterbury and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. Her time spent in undergraduate studies in Christchurch especially helped her communication skills, which were further galvanised by her first job after university at the Sunday Star-Times.

“It was a completely English speaking environment and no other Asian people working there at the time” she explains. 

“It meant, I had to face the day to day challenge of an English speaking environment alongside the career challenges inherent in my job. I learnt a great deal from that experience – self-discipline, self-reliance, time management and most importantly, determination.”

The motivated Miao rose to the challenge and spent break times chatting with the other staff members and put in extra hours at work to ensure that her research was available to the Star-Times journalists. The extra effort paid off and before long she was able to carry out her tasks to meet even the trickiest deadlines.  

In 2011, with partners Richard Zhu and Sean Xie, who also had university educations in New Zealand, Jessica Miao established United Media Solution in Auckland to help meet the growing needs of NZ businesses wanting to market their services and products to the China market.  

The business grew rapidly and before long UMS was working alongside some of New Zealand’s largest brands (Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Villa Maria Estate) in China. At first the company established a small office in the technological park in Ningbo and employed several staff members to service the growing client base, but as the company’s popularity grew they soon out-grew their humble launch pad. 

UMS has recently celebrated its sixth year in business with a newly refurbished office in the prestigious Hebang building in downtown Ningbo, and plans to move its Shanghai office into the CBD in the next few months.

Jessica spends three months in New Zealand twice a year, taking care of business and overseeing the development of the Auckland office. It’s a hectic schedule but one that is exciting and stimulating and very rewarding. She credits her years in New Zealand with helping her manage a culturally diverse team (in China and New Zealand) and with handling all the time management challenges that come from working with teams scattered across the globe. Not only are there challenges inherent in keeping abreast of changing technologies and fast-changing digital platforms, but she also has to be able to communicate those changes to her clients. 

“Studying in New Zealand was such a brilliant experience. It really helped me to clarify what I wanted and what I could contribute in business. Knowing the Western business environment as well as the Chinese environment means that I can make tremendous impact guiding businesses through the language and cultural barriers to success,” she said.

Asked if she sees herself as Chinese or Kiwi she answers with a smile – “I’m both. I have business and homes in both countries so I guess you could say I am an Asian Kiwi.” 

Then she adds quickly – “But as my goal for UMS is for it to become one of the leading digital agencies in the world, I think it would be best to call me, a global citizen.”

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About the contributors
Jessica Miao
Chinese graduate

Jessica Miao spent her high school and University years (2003-2009) in New Zealand, studying Mass Communication at the University of Canterbury and TV and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. She now heads up her own cross-cultural marketing company and divides her time between New Zealand and China.