Marketing Featured East Asia

McCann Shanghai appointed by Centrum to handle strategic, creative comms in China

Shanghai, China – Advertising agency McCann in Shanghai has been appointed by multivitamin brand Centrum to handle its strategic and creative communication in China until 2024. This comes ahead of Centrum’s 30th anniversary in the market.

Shu Wu, managing director of McCann China, said, “McCann has always been dedicated to helping brands earn a meaningful role in people’s lives, and Centrum has provided us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our strength in the field of healthcare.” 

Wu added, “Together, we will help Centrum to resonate more deeply with consumers through more emotional and personalized communication, so Centrum will become the top-of-mind brand for people when buying healthcare products for themselves or their family”.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary in China, Centrum plans to upgrade their brand image, as well as establish and strengthen its reputation as a daily health empowerment brand for Chinese consumers.  

Since its entry into the Chinese market in 1993, Centrum has been a leader in the multivitamin category, enjoying widespread popularity and an excellent market reputation. With the nation’s rapid economic development and corresponding lifestyle changes, the Chinese people’s focus on healthcare has evolved to place more care into daily health management.

Marketing Featured East Asia

We Are Social opens new office in Shenzhen, China

Beijing, China – We Are Social, the global creative agency network, has further boosted its international growth through the opening of a new office in Shenzhen, China. 

The Shenzhen quarter marks the network’s 18th office location, adding to the agency’s existing ones in Shanghai and Beijing in mainland China. It will be led by Dickens Dong, the agency’s general manager, whilst Aaron Breeds will serve as the Shenzhen leg’s creative director. 

Breeds will be overseeing a seven-strong local creative team as well as the other creative team members in different locations. He will be working with clients Chinese smart wearable brand Amazfit and consumer electronics brand CHiQ, as further shared by the agency. 

Dong said that the team is very excited to be putting down its roots in Shenzhen and, all the more, in such a thriving tech area. 

The new office is specifically located in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen, known as the city’s Silicon Valley. It is an area bustling with innovative tech players, enclosing 100+ listed companies and 1,000+ high-tech businesses, and moreover, is said to contribute to 25% of Shenzhen’s GDP. 

Dong commented, “Our growing roster of clients will benefit from our immersion in tech culture and of course the opportunities that naturally arise by working in Shenzhen.” 

Pete Lin, We Are Social’s North Asia CEO, also said, “Shenzhen has become strategically important for us in the past few years, as its technology brands have increased demand for our global marketing services. We believe that by being there on the ground in Shenzhen, we can more effectively address the needs of our current and future clients.”

Meanwhile, Nathan McDonald, the Group CEO at We Are Social, remarked that as We Are Social continues to expand globally, Shenzhen is just the perfect fit for the agency. 

“It’s home to a busy, thriving tech community with both emerging and established brands who are looking to grow in China and beyond. We’re excited to be on the ground with a talented team, closely supported by their colleagues in China and the wider We Are Social network,” he added. 

The Shenzhen office will be opening with a team of 20 and plans to double said count by the end of 2023. 

Other offices of We Are Social are located in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Madrid, London, Singapore, and Sydney, amongst others. 

In July 2022, the North Asia region of the network also saw it acquiring Hong Kong-based above-the-line agency Metta Communications. As a result, the latter had been rebranded to ’Metta/We Are Social’. 

Marketing Featured East Asia

Neil Cao appointed as commercial director for China at Rakuten Advertising

Singapore – Performance advertising company Rakuten Advertising has announced the appointment of Neil Cao to the position of commercial director for China. His new role is part of the international leadership team and will support the growth of an incredibly dynamic and innovative region for affiliate marketing.

Based in Shanghai, Cao will be responsible for leading the Rakuten Advertising business across China by developing and implementing performance marketing strategies for clients and accelerating growth in the country.

His background spans over a decade of experience in the digital ecosystem, ranging from e-commerce, to consumer electronics, to app and gaming. As an advocate for full-funnel performance strategies, he has leveraged various media channels including search, display and programmatic to help clients drive engagement, sales, loyalty and beyond. 

Cao has a proven track record in digital advertising and business development, including successfully selling programmatic advertising to new-to-DSP Chinese merchants and hitting the one million-dollar milestone with MiQ. He has also managed the monetisation of mobile apps, leading to a successful NYSE listing with Cheeta Mobile.

Speaking on his appointment, he said, “I am thrilled to join Rakuten Advertising where I will have the opportunity to collaborate with the world’s leading brands in a thriving Chinese market. My goal is to offer invaluable in-market insights and empower both local and international merchants to connect with their target audience. I’m excited to work together with our clients, partners and team to leverage our performance-based advertising solutions, unlocking growth potential in this challenging yet exciting era.”

Meanwhile, Stuart McLennan, senior vice president for the APAC region at Rakuten Advertising, spoke of Cao being a perfect fit for the company.

“We are delighted to welcome Neil to the team at Rakuten Advertising. With his extensive knowledge of the digital landscape and a proven history of success working with both advertisers and publishers, he is perfectly equipped to help our Chinese clients and partners thrive in their next phase of growth. Under his leadership, I am confident that we can help local and international brands outthink and outperform in a dynamic and highly promising Chinese market,” McLennan said.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Caroline Slocombe appointed by WPP’s OpenX to lead Coca-Cola business in Greater China

Shanghai, China — Marketing and communications network WPP has brought in industry veteran Caroline Slocombe to lead OpenX, the entirely new offering created for The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) that carries an integrated agency model comprised of creative, media, social, data, tech, PR, and commerce experts from across WPP.

In her new role, Slocombe will be overseeing the relationship of TCCC and its portfolio of iconic brands across all WPP’s agencies in Greater China. 

For 25 years, Slocombe has built her strong working experience with agencies. From directing multi-market and multi-functional teams, she has served for some of the world’s biggest CPG and FMCG brands. 

She was previously an executive director for Red Fuse Communications in APAC where she drove growth for a portfolio of over 10 brands across 15 markets. She was also a general manager in LOWE, currently known as MullenLowe Profero, in Hong Kong where she oversaw office operations and manage the Johnson & Johnson business across APAC.

Considering China as an important part of growth and innovation, Laurent Ezekiel, global CEO of OpenX from WPP & WPP CMO said that Slocombe will be an asset for supporting the company’s transformation in the country. 

Commenting on Slocombe’s appointment, Chris Reitermann, chief executive officer of Ogilvy Asia & Greater China added, “Her strategic marketing understanding, combined with her extensive experience in the region — having worked in Asia for more than two decades — made her an ideal fit for this vital role within the OpenX from WPP framework, which is all about delivering giant ideas that create giant value for The Coca-Cola Company.” 

Meanwhile, Slocombe commends The Coca-cola Company for its portfolio of iconic brands and recognizing its global success. 

She added, “Being able to help lead their marketing transformation agenda forward in this part of the world, which is so vibrant and innovative, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with all the talented experts that make up the OpenX from WPP team and together push the boundaries of possibility.” 

Marketing Featured APAC

Tencent’s new layoffs ripple towards video streaming, gaming teams

Shenzhen, China – China’s tech behemoth Tencent has announced a new wave of layoffs, affecting teams on its video streaming, gaming, and cloud businesses.

Sources told Reuters that it spread across three out of six of Tencent’s business divisions. They include platform and content (PCG); the gaming-focused interactive entertainment department (IEG), and the cloud and smart industries group (CSIG).

There is no exact figure how many Tencent employees were laid off.

Tencent previously announced a wave of job cuts in September this year, affecting around 5,000 people or 5% of the company’s workforce. Some of the companies under the conglomerate which underwent downsizing include gaming publication Fanbyte and short-video platform Xiaohongshu.

The firm has a stake in numerous social media platforms and gaming companies;including Riot Games, Epic Games, Roblox, Discord, Pocket Gems, amongst others.

Tencent’s latest update follows a massive wave of tech layoffs globally, including Meta, Salesforce, Shopee, Netflix, Snap, and Oracle.

Marketing Featured East Asia

E-commerce enabler Baozun buys Gap’s business in China, to create new business line on brand management

Shanghai, China – Baozun Inc., a Chinese e-commerce solution provider and digital commerce enabler, has announced that it has entered definitive agreements to acquire Gap Greater China. 

As part of its strategic plan to drive sustainable growth, Baozun has established Baozun Brand Management (BBM) as its new business line that intends to leverage its portfolio of technologies at the service of brands and deepen relationships with brands. The substantial size and scope of Gap Greater China are crucial in its development.

The company shared that the combination of its China-for-China strategy through Gap’s acquisition and its technology and data-driven approach in product and consumer operations will empower Gap for sustainable future growth.

Vincent Qiu, chairman, and chief executive officer of Baozun, commented, “This acquisition accelerates our evolution into a technology-driven, omnichannel commerce player. Technology is at the centre of our strategy, and it is our competitive advantage. With Gap’s brand equity and significant size in Greater China, BBM will start at a higher point to bridge the digital commerce/brick-and-mortar divide at scale and do what few have done in retail.”

“Baozun Brand Management is a strategic addition that naturally flows from the existing core e-commerce services business. We aim to leverage our leading technology portfolio and develop into a holistic, all-rounded partner for global brands to further unlock business potential in China. Meanwhile, we will also accelerate the establishment of our retail talent pool, supply chain capabilities, and IT systems to build an ecosystem and better serve our other brand partners,” added Qiu 

Gap Greater China is the China division of Gap, the well-known  American speciality apparel company. The China branch first opened its store in 2010.

“We are deeply committed to our customers in Greater China and know that it is a market with enormous potential for our brand,” stated Mark Breitbard, president and CEO of Gap Brand

Breitbard added, “The growth that we are unlocking through local partnerships with market experts like Baozun is allowing us to not only connect with new and existing customers but to provide them with personalised, service-oriented experiences. With its best-in-class omnichannel technology and deep expertise in data management and digital business, Baozun has helped drive impressive results in our online growth and penetration of the Greater China market in the past four years, and we feel confident about our partner’s future value-creating China-for-China plans for Gap Greater China.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

Dentsu Creative China names Richard Tan as CEO

Shanghai, China Dentsu China has recently announced the appointment of Richard Tan as CEO of Dentsu Creative China. His appointment will be effective on November 16 this year.

Tan will be reporting to Deric Wong, CEO of Dentsu China, and will be leading about 1,200 strong teams across Dentsu’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Wuhan. 

He is expected to accelerate growth for the group’s extensive client base while championing innovation to drive greater integration to Dentsu’s creative services to media and its customer experience management.

Speaking on his appointment, Tan said, “I am passionate about balancing bold creativity with sustained business impact in China’s dynamic digital ecosystem. I love where DENTSU CREATIVE is heading and leading with ‘Modern Creativity’… through a simplified but compelling proposition that navigates practical challenges in the modern world of complexity.”

Prior to joining Dentsu Creative, Tan held several senior management positions as country head in various agency networks in China for 20 years. This includes Euro RSCG, DDB, and Mullenlowe China.

On Tan’s appointment, Wong commented, “I am pleased to welcome Richard as he takes on the leadership of Dentsu Creative China. We live in a time of exciting possibilities and Richard as a seasoned agency leader will continue to build on the momentum with dynamism.”

He added, “Our leadership team looks to work closely with Richard, to continue building on our bold strategies to fuel market-leading growth and help brands create lasting good with meaningful progress, as Dentsu continues to evolve in China’s digital era.”

Tan will be replacing Dentsu Creative China’s incumbent CEO Keita Ishikawa, who will be moving on to a management role at Dentsu Inc. in Japan.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Keita-san for everything we’ve achieved together under his transformative leadership and wish him our best in his new role,” Wong further stated. 

Cheuk Chiang, chief executive officer at Dentsu Creative APAC, also said, “There is no creative leader in China more experienced than Richard. As we take Dentsu Creative to the next level, he is well placed to deliver success. He lives and breathes creativity.”

Since its launch last June, Dentsu Creative has been continuing its series of leadership appointments with Benny Augustine for India, Cheuk Chiang for APAC, and four new hires for its global leadership team.

Platforms Featured East Asia

Net buying cost inflation of leading advertisers in China to be under 3% in 2023: report

Shanghai, China – New data suggest that net buying cost inflation of leading advertisers in China to be under 3% in 2023, with this year seeing a 10% to 15% cut in media budgets by advertisers, according to the latest report from media investment management company Ebiquity.

According to the data, traditional net media inflation will range from 0% to 2.5% while print media buying cost will witness a 4.2% decrease. Meanwhile, Chinese digital media net cost inflation will hover in the range of 3% to 3.5%.

The data also notes that 2022 has been a tough year for the Chinese advertising industry due to a restricted GDP growth of 3%. This was largely because of the Chinese government’s imposition of ‘Zero-Covid’ policy, where several key cities have experienced extended lockdowns.

Commenting on the forecast, Stewart Li, managing director for Ebiquity China said, “Several global economic institutions have lowered China’s 2023 GDP forecast from 5.3% to 4.5% in September. This has led Ebiquity China to predict another soft year for the advertising industry. Our recommendation for advertisers is to implement a proper media cost management program with their media agencies so that they can negotiate for a tough 2023 media buying cost and KPI.”

He added, “While the budget cuts from leading advertisers have had a significant impact on multinational media agency groups with some forced to announce layoffs in 2022, the impact has been severe for local agencies too. The top 8 locally listed advertising companies’ first half 2022 financial reports show that their revenues experienced negative or soft growth year-on-year.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

China-based e-commerce partner Baozun expands in SEA, unveils Singapore HQ

Singapore – Baozun Inc., an e-commerce service partner that helps brands execute their e-commerce strategies in China, has announced its new regional headquarters in Singapore, as it seeks to drive e-commerce innovation and bring a competitive advantage to brands in SEA.

Following its expansion into Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2013, Baozun identified Singapore and Malaysia as key markets in SEA to expand its footprint. The company is also in the midst of setting up its Philippines office and plans to expand to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand by the end of 2023. 

Moreover, the company plans to continue nurturing a robust team of local experts with first-hand e-commerce experience to support business expansion and growth in the region.

“With 15 years of experience in the most advanced e-commerce market, we’re confident that Baozun Asia’s advanced technologies and infrastructure will give brands in the region a competitive advantage. Having said that, we’re acutely aware that SEA is a highly diverse region, so we look forward to prioritising a localised approach and creating custom solutions that help brands grow sustainably through a long-term relationship,” said Thomas Yeoh, board member of Baozun Asia. 

Baozun said that the demand for strong e-commerce technological capabilities and infrastructure is only increasing, and its entry into the region means that brands will have access to custom end-to-end omnichannel services, tailored to the fast-changing needs of brands in SEA. This encompasses the entire e-commerce value chain covering IT solutions, store operations, digital marketing, customer services, and warehousing and logistics.

Marketing Featured East Asia

EssenceMediacom names Benjamin Wei as new CEO in China

Shanghai, China – EssenceMediacom, GroupM’s merged agencies of Essence and Mediacom, has appointed Benjamin Wei as its new chief executive officer in China, which launches in January 2023.

The appointment is effective by October this year, and Wei will be reporting to both Patrick Xu, CEO at WPP and GroupM Greater China; as well as to Rupert McPetrie, CEO at EssenceMediacom APAC.

Wei first joined GroupM China in 2010, and has been leading Essence China’s exponential business growth and expansion of its data-driven media offering over the past three years. During this time, he founded GroupM’s first centralised mobile business unit in the market, delivering creative and media solutions to clients.

Also at GroupM China in 2012, Wei established GroupM’s digital media innovation and thought leadership hub in Beijing, and in 2015 he relaunched the mobile unit to provide integrated mobile services to clients.

Speaking on his appointment, Wei said, “I am honoured to have the opportunity to realise our global vision in China with this role. Essence and MediaCom are two exceptional and complementary companies, and this merger significantly increases our competitiveness and leadership in the market. I firmly believe that EssenceMediacom, as the agency model of the future, will create even more excellent value for our people and clients.”

Meanwhile, Xu commented, “We are incredibly excited about EssenceMediacom, an agency that will be at the forefront of the media industry, and will create cutting-edge advantage and opportunities for our clients, people and community going forward. I believe Benjamin, as a veteran with a proven track record of accomplishments, and a knowledgeable and respected leader, will ensure that we get the very best from the merger.”

Lastly, McPetrie said, “Benjamin has consistently put people at the heart of all that he does. At every stage of his career, he has also developed new capabilities and scaled them with a spirit of entrepreneurialism, as well as established very strong, innovative partnerships with clients. As we look to the future, building our new agency in such a key strategic and unique market, I am really excited about what we will create with Benjamin leading the business.”

EssenceMediacom has also recently announced the appointment of Jin Choi as its chief executive officer for South Korea.