IABC and SPRA announce China's first Accredited Business Communicators

Global Standard for Business Communication Introduced in China

IABC and SPRA announce China's first Accredited Business Communicators

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 12 September 2008 – At a ceremony held today in Shanghai, ten public relations and organizational communication professionals became the first-ever Chinese citizens to earn the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The introduction of the ABC to China brings this global standard to the Chinese business communication profession and strengthens the relationship between Chinese business communicators and their peers worldwide.

This program was completed through a partnership between the Shanghai Public Relations Association (SPRA) and IABC. In April 2007, both associations signed an agreement through which IABC would introduce a formal accreditation completion program into China, carrying out the application, training and examination processes in the following year.

IABC’s accreditation process measures the strategic abilities and technical skills of a communicator. The process consists of rigorous evaluation that identifies and recognizes the highly qualified, well-rounded communicator through a review of his or her portfolio of work, and written and oral examinations. Candidates meeting the exacting requirements of the process earn the ABC designation.

The individuals in the China’s first group of accreditation applicants have worked in the PR and communication field for many years. After the qualification review, these applicants each submitted two portfolios for review, and attended a two-week training session given by IABC leaders. During this session, candidates learned about advanced concepts in business and marketing communication. The candidates completed the last stage of the program—the written and oral examinations—on 29–30 March 2008. In the end, after one year of training and assessment, ten candidates passed the accreditation program and earned the ABC designation.

“The program evaluated and upgraded the level of the communications professionals, as well as established a professional benchmark for the development of the industry. It brought about dialogue between Chinese business communicators and their global peers, enabling us to progress together,” said Professor Mao Jing-quan, president of SPRA. Commenting on the significance of the ABC designation’s entry into the China market, Mao said, “The Chinese PR and communications industry is now changing from rapid development to rational development. The presentation of the first ABCs in China will have a profound effect on demonstrating the sound development of the industry.”

“Through this program, IABC will be able to bring the latest professional skills and strategic thinking to the Chinese business communication industry, helping our Chinese peers to further improve their professional standard. We thank everyone who has been part of this program,” said Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, president of IABC, who was present on the occasion. Congratulating the first Chinese ABC recipients on their achievement, Freeman added, “These candidates have gone through rigorous evaluation to earn the ABC designation. Their accomplishment represents the global standard and is a personal statement of their skills and knowledge.”

Zhu Xiao-ming, vice chairman of Shanghai CPPCC and dean of CEIBS, attended the ceremony honoring the new ABCs. He commented that introducing the ABC to China successfully demonstrated that Shanghai is making a great effort in developing high-quality training for talented professionals. With the help of this global standard, excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and sales, public affairs, investment, advertising and human resources will drive sound and rapid socioeconomic development in China.

Omnicom Group, a leading global communication and marketing services holding company, provided strong support for bringing IABC’s accreditation program to China. Serge Dumont, Omnicom’s senior vice president and president of Omnicom Asia Pacific, said “Omnicom will continue to pay special attention to the IABC program and its development in China. I would like to thank the Shanghai PR Association, IABC and Ketchum for their leadership on this important initiative, which we sincerely hope will promote the healthy development of the communications industry in China by cultivating more and more talent in the area of public relations.”

Ketchum, a leading PR company and a member of Omnicom Group, played an instrumental role in advancing the cooperation between SPRA and IABC on the accreditation program. Kenneth Chu, partner and CEO of Ketchum China, commented that “Since Ketchum set up its first office in the Mainland China in 1993, we have been a strong advocate of higher professional standards for the local PR industry. We see the SPRA-IABC partnership as a perfect platform to achieve this goal through a global standard of accreditation for professionals in China.”

Recruitment of the second batch of the ABC candidates is reportedly underway. The ten new ABCs will have the opportunity to volunteer in the training and examination stages of the accreditation process for future applicants, and to share their experience of this global standard with more of their business communication peers.

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