Marketing Featured East Asia

Robbie Yang joins Hill+Knowlton Strategies as VP of growth in China

Beijing, China – Public relations firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies has appointed Robbie Yang as its vice president of growth in China. In his new role, he will be responsible for driving the firm’s business growth in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Yang brings more than 15 years of experience in public relations, marketing and digital communications at both brands and agencies. Most recently, he was vice president of branding and marketing at Shanghai Feiren Network Technology and has previously also served as head of marketing and PR communications for AC Milan China, as well as head of communications at Infront China. 

In addition, with 10 years of experience at Ogilvy China, he has supported leading brands such as Mercedes Benz, Jaguar Land Rover and Intel.

Based in Beijing, Yang will report to Jun Xu, CEO at H+K China, and Sam Lythgoe, global chief business development officer for H+K.

Speaking about his appointment, he said, “Throughout my career I have accumulated in-depth knowledge, strategic communications skills, as well as complex account management capabilities in a wide range of sectors including sports, luxury automotive, IT, leisure, fashion, movies and FMCG. I’m excited to bring my skills and thinking to H+K to support the agency’s continued growth in the fast-moving Chinese market.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Bastion Asia announces strategic partnership with Shanghai-based PR agency Adventi

Sydney, Australia – Marketing communications agency Bastion Asia has announced a strategic partnership with Shanghai-based PR agency, Adventi, to drive greater digital and marketing innovation for Australian brands seeking to engage with Chinese audiences.

Adventi, a marketing and communications agency specialising in luxury brands, is known for bringing some of Europe’s biggest luxury brands to China, including Patek Philippe, Chanel and Gucci. From its Shanghai base, the Adventi team represents some of the biggest brands who are working to target Chinese consumers including Hermes, Chanel, Sephora, Porsche, Tag Heuer, among others.

Bastion Asia CEO Richard Chapman said the strategic alignment was designed to support the many Australian brands targeting Chinese customers, both locally and abroad.

“Adventi is at the cutting edge of marketing innovation in China and has forged a path into the country for some of the world’s biggest brands. We hope by working together we can help more Australian brands expand into China, while rolling out the latest thinking to our clients targeting Chinese customers based in Australia,” he said.

The Adventi partnership builds on Bastion Asia’s global network, which also includes long-held partnerships with local agencies in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and The Philippines. Bastion also has operations in the US and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Adventi Founder and Director Hong Zheng said: “China is an intimidating new market for many global brands, but our experience bringing many of Europe’s biggest luxury brands here demonstrates there is a path forward. We look forward to helping Australian brands speak to Chinese audiences and understand the value in a truly global approach to communications.”

With these partners Bastion Asia services a number of global clients across luxury brands, B2B and horticulture.

Chapman added, “We are on a path to be able to offer our clients an APAC wide and global approach to communications that cherry picks the best independent agencies in each market. This approach makes us nimble and competitive against larger global holding groups and has been well received by many clients.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

China Duty Free taps Superunion to ‘dream up’ Macau flagship opening

Hong Kong — China Duty Free International, one of the established luxury goods operators in China, has commissioned creative company Superunion to create a visual digital experience for its new flagship opening in Macau. Dubbed ‘The Surreal Island’, the project is made up of large-scale digital displays set within the retail space at the Grand Lisboa Palace, Macau.

Superunion, a company under the WPP umbrella, will create content for digital screens that include ceiling displays and wall panels to be displayed in the Macau flagship store. The company worked in collaboration with Peru-based surrealist illustrator, Paolo Torres. Together, they created a poetic world inhabited by characters and scenes, designed through a whimsical combination of retail products and magical creatures.

Different scenes unfold from the art project; a tiger tote stalks the rainforest and a Venus statue built of lipstick sits at the centre of a lake whilst porcelain whales dance in the sky. Each of these narratives was illustrated and brought to life in motion, designed to seamlessly exist alongside the store’s daily life. The scenes are highly intricate, with day and night cycles that reveal new discoveries through every view.

Louisa Luk, senior designer of Superunion, said that the project has been a truly collaborative effort that spanned across time zones and continents, involving creatives both internally and externally from Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Italy, London and Peru.

“The China Duty Free team gave us an invaluable opportunity to flex our skills beyond branding into experience design – culminating in a fine blend of creative tech, illustration, art direction and cinematography. This immersive and dreamlike space speaks to the vibrancy of experiences and culture in Macau, setting up the flagship as a true destination for luxury shopping,” Luk said.

Meanwhile, Miuling Lau, senior marketing manager of China Duty Free International, commented, “Macau is known for its larger-than-life attitude to experiences, having established its identity as a casino city in the last 15 years. Our hope is that we are able to transport our guests to another world as soon as they step into our store and that this project marks the beginning of an otherwise expansive brand world for Surreal Island, where we can break out of the original retail context into other platforms and experiences.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

Havas Group acquires marketing agency Front Networks in China

China – Global communications group, Havas, has acquired Front Networks, an independent creative agency focusing on social and digital marketing in China, which will be integrated into the Havas Creative network. 

Front Networks, which currently has two offices in Beijing and Shanghai, provides a full range of digital marketing services, with a team of more than 200 people. It has always been at the forefront of digital evolution in China and is trusted by more than 200 international clients across sectors such as automotive, finance, sports, software, artificial intelligence, amongst others, including BMW, Rolls-Royce, Vivo, and Microsoft, as well as Bank of China, and Nestlé, amongst many others.

This move will bring additional creative and digital firepower to Havas in China. Havas will be leveraging Front Network’s expertise in timely and effective digital storytelling, creating engaging digital content and channel mapping, as well as its enterprise philosophy of Connectivity + Creativity + Collectivity.

Yannick Bolloré, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO, commented that China has always been of strategic importance to them and he is thrilled to see that they are keeping up the same drive and momentum in this market. 

“By partnering with the best there is to offer in China, Havas Group will surely create more meaningful moments and value for all our clients, consumers, brands and communities. We are delighted to welcome Felix and the teams to the Havas Family,” said Bolloré.

Meanwhile, Karl Wu, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO for Greater China, shared that Front Networks has proven its business strength, agility, and adaptability during China’s digital emergence and evolution. 

“Amidst the arrival of the metaverse, bringing Front Networks on board is an important strategic step to further enrich our digital solutions for our clients in China. Under our one Havas Village roof, we will together continue our mission to create meaningful differences for brands, businesses and people,” said Wu.

Felix Teng, Front Networks’ founder and CEO, said that they pride themselves in having been recognised by Havas, the industry leader in integration and entrepreneurship.

“With the Group’s resources and empowering tools, we will be able to broaden our horizon, extend our solutions and add scale to the depth of our services. Their philosophy is very exciting and we are looking forward to doing more meaningful things together,” added Teng.

Technology Featured East Asia

Hivestack, SparkX Marketing partner to bolster DSP business in China

Shanghai, China – Global independent programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) adtech company, Hivestack, has partnered with SparkX Marketing, a Chinese cross-border martech company.

The partnership will see SparkX leveraging Hivestack’s DSP to bring global automation and performance measurement to its clients’ campaigns in DOOH for the first time. Through this, clients of SparkX will be able to access Hivestack’s full suite of tools within the Hivestack DSP, including the ability to build custom audiences, set up live geo-location targeting, plan, buy and deliver programmatic DOOH campaigns globally.

Aileen Ku, Hivestack’s general manager for China, shared that as enthusiasm builds for programmatic DOOH around the world, they are thrilled to partner with SparkX Marketing to continue to drive forward the adoption of the channel. 

“Our unique position as a global, independent ad tech company provides crucial opportunities for local advertisers to plan and deliver contextualised, targeted and measurable campaigns around the world via our global network of DOOH inventory,” said Ku.

Meanwhile, Jun Yuan, SparkX Marketing’s founder, commented that this is a very exciting partnership for their business and will allow their clients to scale their business via programmatic DOOH outside of China for the first time. 

“We look forward to collaborating with our new partner at Hivestack to leverage their market-leading programmatic technology and global network of DOOH inventory to offer our clients a way to precisely engage worldwide audiences outside of the home,” said Yuan.

Just recently, Hivestack has partnered with BlueFocus Media, to enable Chinese brands to plan, activate, and measure DOOH campaigns programmatically via the Hivestack demand-side platform (DSP) from within China to outside China and all over the world.

Marketing Featured East Asia

PHD appointed as World Gold Council China’s media agency

Shanghai, China – Media agency PHD has been appointed by World Gold Council China to hold its media mandate. Through it, the agency will drive media strategy, planning and buying duties to elevate the association’s brand awareness and encourage gold investment and gold jewellery consumption in the market.

PHD China clinched the account by displaying a deep understanding of the association’s high-net-worth consumers. The agency’s strategic approach to deliver business results through digital and data-led expertise impressed the association.

A spokesperson from World Gold Council China shared, “The association is committed to play an active role in the gold market and to explore more acquisition channels, promote innovation and gold consumption with various partners. PHD’s approach not only focused on media planning, but they also provided a plan for the association to effectively educate consumers about the gold industry.”

Meanwhile, Joey Zhao, CEO of PHD China, commented, “While individual brands usually focus on their own products and image, the World Gold Council allows us an opportunity to promote gold jewellery and investment from the perspective of the industry.”

He added, “Our team has extensive experience in global media marketing and we will create a media strategy for the association in the new digital era, to further help consumers expand their knowledge and awareness of the gold industry.”

Technology Featured East Asia

iClick fully acquires software vendor Changyi to drive enterprise solution

Hong Kong – Online marketing and enterprise data solutions provider iClick has fully acquired the remaining equity interest of Changyi Information Technology Co., the independent software vendor in China that provides intelligent retail and CRM solutions. 

Through the acquisition, iClick will be accelerating the expansion of its Enterprise Solutions business, spearheaded by its newly established ‘SaaS + X’ business model which aims to help companies strengthen their productivity and enhance their private domain through effective key opinion leader (KOL) recommendations, efficient targeted marketing and e-commerce partnerships while integrating data assets and solidifying their brand profiles.

iClick said that in consideration of the acquisition, it will pay RMB6,000,000 and will issue 3,091,327 American depository shares. Upon completion of the proposed transaction, Changyi will be wholly owned by the iClick.

Jian Tang, iClick’s chairman, co-founder, and CEO, shared that the demand for private domain traffic remains strong and they are capitalising on this trend through continued investment in their Enterprise Solutions business.

“The acquisition of the remaining shares of Changyi will accelerate the evolution of our Enterprise Solutions and better help our clients to innovate through digital transformation,” said Tang.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Joyce Ling elevated to Wunderman Thompson China’s chief transformation and strategy officer

China — Creative and CRM agency Wunderman Thompson in China has announced that Joyce Ling has been promoted to chief transformation and strategy officer.

In her new role, Ling will take on additional responsibilities to drive client growth and innovation through digital and business transformation opportunities. Working closely with Wunderman Thompson’s global network, Ling’s vast understanding and the role will allow brands to fully maximise growth opportunities and impact future developments.

Ling will continue to report to Carter Chow, chief executive officer of Wunderman Thompson China.

Ling shared her thoughts on the essence of her new role, saying that in this ever changing market, where customers’ behaviours evolve with the change of hyper ecosystems, and their experiences alter with the speed at which touchpoints appear and disappear on daily basis, it is of no surprise that cookie-cutter marketing solutions can no longer work for brands.

“This is the perfect opportunity where Wunderman Thompson can tailor solutions for brands in order to achieve sustainable marketing and business results. This is already a reality in our industry and I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead this conversation for Wunderman Thompson here in China,” Ling said.

Commenting on this new appointment, Chow said, “We are all extremely pleased that Ling will be leading our business transformation. There is no one in the industry more suited or qualified than Ling to elevate Wunderman Thompson China’s current offerings of strategy, data, and experience, and inspire design-thinking mindsets in our team to create tailored solutions for our client.”

Recently in January, Wunderman Thompson saw the return of Joe Dy as its new chief creative officer for their Philippine division.

Technology Featured East Asia

Hivestack announces strategic partnership with BlueFocus Media

Shanghai, China – Hivestack, a global independent programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) ad tech company, has announced a strategic partnership with Chinese media agency BlueFocus Media. This will enable Chinese brands to plan, activate and measure digital out of home (DOOH) campaigns programmatically via the Hivestack demand side platform (DSP) from within China to outside China and all over the world.

The partnership between Hivestack and BlueFocus Media combines the strengths of both companies – the quality of BlueFocus Media’s clients omnichannel marketing business and the power and scale of Hivestack’s programmatic DOOH technology and its access to premium DOOH screens globally.

Troy Yang, managing director of North Asia at Hivestack, said that they look forward to working with BlueFocus Media to bring the benefits of programmatic DOOH to enable Chinese brands to reach their target audiences with more precision globally, at scale.

“BlueFocus Media is an important player in the local market and has incredible insights and understanding of the needs of Chinese brands. They are also clear about the challenges Chinese brands are facing in terms of the limits to overseas advertising. Hivestack is perfectly-positioned to take on these challenges thanks to the talent of our international team and our expanding global footprint spanning over 25 markets,” Yang said.

Meanwhile, Pan Fei, CEO at BlueFocus Media, commented, “We are excited to take a step into this innovative industry, which offers many opportunities to expand and elevate our current use of digital out of home (DOOH). This new partnership will be beneficial to both sides, with Hivestack providing Chinese brands access to a global inventory and improved data capabilities, which will in turn, bring Chinese brands to international audiences.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

Creative ad agency Stink Studios adds new China office

Shenzen, China — New York-based creative advertising and digital experience company Stink Studios has opened its second office in China following a period of sustained growth. Located in Shenzhen, the office will be overseen by Ramzi Chaabane, managing director of the company’s Chinese headquarters in Shanghai.

The expansion is due to a deepening commitment to the innovative-focused nature offered by the China market, and the strengthening demand from Chinese tech companies for world-class creative campaigns, design and digital experiences. In addition, Stink Studios also has several high-value clients who have headquarters in Shenzhen, including Tencent, Oppo, and Oneplus.

Being based in New York, the company was early to the Chinese market, first opening its doors in Shanghai in 2015. The creative output of the Shenzhen office will be overseen by Addie Hao, senior creative veteran at Stink Studios, who has relocated to Shenzhen from Shanghai.

Commenting on the opening of the second office in Shenzhen, Stink Studios veteran Hao shared that she’s very happy to bring the good energy from their Shanghai office over to the new location in Shenzhen.

“Being closer to our clients and in the heart of one of the technology capitals of the world is truly amazing. We have been blessed to receive many applications from young designers and developers who were happily surprised to see a leading international creative agency opening in their city,” Hao said.