We are excited to announce that Andrew Ballen, the China media and advertising expert, and Founder & CEO of AVD Digital Media based in Shanghai, has offered to make all of his various Chinese media projects available to ABC readers! In this post we will start with some of his Getaway episodes, where Andrew serves as our tour guide and host throughout various regions of China to give us an authentic behind the scenes view of China that few Westerners ever experience. Andrew co-produced Getaway, a bi-lingual travel adventure series which aired nationally in China and internationally from 2003 to 2008. Andrew, who was the first American to ever host a Chinese television series, became widely known throughout China where he is also known as Da Long (大龙), and as Big Dragon.
Who is Andrew Ballen?
Andrew’s story is amazing! Andrew, who is Jamaican Belizean American, has lived in China since 2001, and he and his Chinese girlfriend are featured on the ABC Celebrity Chinese and Black Couples page. His many accomplishments in China include:
1. Becoming fluent in the Chinese language within 1 year
2. Bringing hip hop music and culture to China’s club scene as featured in the documentary, No Sleep Til Shanghai. Andrew has been called the Russell Simmons of China.
3. Being the first American to ever host a Chinese television show – Getaway, which was China’s nationally aired bi-lingual travel adventure series
4. Creating a successful Chinese media / advertising company, BallenWest Events Media, which helped global brands reach a vibrant Chinese market
5. Hosting several nationally aired radio shows in China
6. Becoming the advertising voice over artist for several global brands in China with his distinctive silky smooth, gravelly bass voice
7. Creating and producing his own Chinese singing reality television show called REMIX Music Season.
8. Pioneering the interactive video space in China as Founder & CEO of AVD Digital Media
9. Being named to China’s prestigious Digital A-List which recognizes China’s top digital entrepreneurs including the likes of Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, one of the richest men in China.
See more on Andrew in this Tavis Smiley interview and on his Wikipedia page.
1. Getaway – Xianju Episode
Video Intro by Andrew:
Xianju “Home of the Immortals, with a cultural heritage stretching back an amazing estimated 5,000 to 7,000 years. According to recent archaeological discoveries, along with the Neolithic Tang (唐) and Hemudu (河姆渡) geographical regions; Xian Ju (仙居) represents a true encounter with the early dawn of Chinese civilization.
Xianju is also the modern center of Chinese Waxberry alcohol production (杨梅酒). 杨梅 (waxberry) alcohol has a deceptively smooth taste- think Kool Aid with a ‘kick’, but DO NOT let the delectable, smooth taste fool you. Too many glasses of 杨梅酒 will put you under the table, quicker than you can say “Hey Kool Aid!” followed by some intense worship of the proverbial porcelain god. Perhaps that’s why slowed neurons on day two gave me the bright idea to go swimming in the icy cold Pujiang River (蒲江河). All captured on camera by my brother and cameraman par excellence Yu Kan.
15 years in China’s hidden treasures still seem endless. Go. Just watch out for the waxberry-laden assassin’s mace! 大龙
2. Getaway – Awashan Yunnan Province Episode
Video Intro by Andrew:
Amidst the hustle, bustle and clamor for wealth, there remain places in China where sincerity, family, joy and the sacred to be found in belonging to a community remain fundamental. 5 years into my China journey, the people of Awashan in Lincang County Yunnan Province remain those nearest and dearest to my heart. Andrew Ballen is a digital media executive serial entrepreneur and Sinophile who got his start in China hosting its most popular travel adventure series “Getaway”. To find out more about Andrew Ballen visit his facebook page at or Wikipedia or its Mandarin doppelganger 百度百科 。 More to come from my adopted home, a land of stark contrasts and wonder. Special thanks to Yichun my guide among the Wa people and my friend to this day.
We hope you enjoy these great videos! Please share your feedback with us in the comments below. We will work with Andrew to add even more videos to ABC, especially if we see high levels of interest in these videos.