Andrew Ballen

Name: Andrew Ballen
Chinese Name: 博大龙
Title: Founder and CEO
Company: AVD Digital Media
Years Working in China: 14
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Ballen has supplanted the ‘American dream’ to China. Much like previous generations of immigrants who arrived in the US with nothing but ambition, Ballen came to China in 2001 as a Duke University law school drop-out, with only his imagination to build on. Replicating the make-your-own-opportunity success stories from the country of his birth, today Ballen is founder and CEO of AVD Digital Media. His company is at the forefront of digital integration with commerce, offering an interactive video technology that allows viewers to touch objects they see on screen and link directly to shopping pages.

Early after arriving in China, Ballen started learning Mandarin but he also uncovered a common connection with local youth culture, namely a mutual love of American hip-hop. He turned that affinity into opportunity and after a couple years and several connections he found himself hosting his own television show in China.

Again using his imagination, that career prompted him to found a new media company focused on sponsorships, an area he found lacking in China’s media world.

As the internet and mobile technology picked up speed, Ballen followed suit and in 2011 he morphed his business into AVD Digital Media.

His ad tech firm now works with major international brands such as Nike, Durex and Mondelez, all of which have used his company’s touch technology in their interactive video campaigns and pre-rolls. The technology allows any object in a video to become an interactive touchpoint for consumers and Ballen contends it can’t be beaten for ROI or measurement because people are literally reaching out to grab what they want in the video.

In a 2005 interview with CNN Money, Ballen is quoted as saying “I have nothing but my imagination.” But his history and achievement shows that imagination is everything.