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Can You Text Lancaster In Mandarin?

How do you tweet in Mandarin: Lancaster is a great place to do business? Well, that’s the job of a translator hired by the city to drum up interest in the Antelope Valley city. And to be specific, Pei-Yuen Tang, the Los Angeles-based translator, is not really tweeting. Instead, the city went active on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo and the texting service WeChat this summer seeking to find mainland companies that may want to do business there. So far, results of the initiative remain to be seen. A bilingual economic development brochure posted at Weibo in October had been read by about 50 users in two weeks. An article about a visit by representatives of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles to the Lancaster facility of BYD Motors, the U.S. subsidiary of Chinese electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd, attracted 2,000 readers. Kaitie Byrne, a communications specialist with the city who coordinates postings on the social media sites, anticipates that interest in the city’s postings will grow in coming months. “We are putting ourselves in a place that we would not have been seen otherwise,” Byrne said. Weibo is a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook that has more than 500 million registered users posting about 100 million messages a day. WeChat is a popular mobile-text and voice-messaging service with more than 250 million active users across China. Mayor R. Rex Parris suggested the city get on social media after traveling to China and meeting with businesspeople there. “We are now utilizing social media to better connect with prospective foreign business partners,” he said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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