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.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Essence named as integrated media partner of Segway-Ninebot China

Beijing, China – Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency under WPP’s GroupM, has been awarded integrated media duties for smart short-distance transportation and robotics company Segway-Ninebot in China. This partnership will be led out of the agency’s Beijing and Shanghai offices.

In 2015, Segway-Ninebot was formed in a strategic merger and acquisition by Ninebot. As a global enterprise in the fields of intelligent short-distance transportation and service robots, Segway-Ninebot’s perspective and mission are to simplify the movement of people and things and make life more convenient. The company’s extensive product line includes electric self-balancing scooters, electric kickscooters, electric mopeds, electric gokarts, and all-terrain vehicles and service robots, catering to various aspects of life, from daily commute to entertainment and point-to-point delivery.

As part of the mandate, Essence’s scope of work includes strategy, creative, content innovation, media planning, and media activation for all of Segway-Ninebot’s products in the market. Additionally, Essence’s first initiatives with Segway-Ninebot include the launch of an integrated brand campaign and tagline, as well as a partnership with Chinese celebrity Jackson Yee as the brand’s global spokesperson to reach out to consumers across generations. 

Essence said that the communications plan, covering strategy, creative, media, and content marketing would propel Segway-Ninebot’s awareness and generated positive discussions amongst audiences across platforms since its launch in the early third quarter, effectively positioning the company as a breakout brand in the market.

Benjamin Wei, Essence’s CEO for China, commented that they are greatly excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Segway-Ninebot to make the brand more valuable to consumers.

“With our full-service media offering, strategic and creative expertise, as well as cutting-edge use of data and technology, we look forward to helping Segway-Ninebot create new innovations to meet the evolving demands of modern transportation, and drive enhanced growth for the brand and business in the market,” said Wei.

Most recently, Essence has also been appointed as the integrated media agency of record by online restaurant company Rebel Foods in India. The agency’s scope of work includes strategy, analytics, media planning, and media activation for the internet restaurant company’s brand marketing activities.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Toothpaste brand Crest kicks off week-long dental care-centric campaign

Hong Kong – As part of observing the ‘920 National Dental Care Day’, one of P&G’s toothpaste brands Crest has launched a week-long campaign to further promote a healthy dental care lifestyle, and advocating the belief that daily dental protection is the key to healthier teeth.

Crest has launched a brand platform called ‘Great Crest Protection, Greater Smiles’ for the campaign, alongside a campaign film, which strategically depicts three families of different backgrounds and ages to show how Crest is the enabler of their healthy yet ordinary day-to-day lives.

The film features a young family of three, a couple, and a family of three generations, each bringing to life the belief that we are all born with beautiful smiles, but the confidence to smile needs to be encouraged.

In addition, through a series of activations, the brand partnered with Local Chinese channel CCTV and hosted an open class on public awareness of oral health. The film was also distributed on digital platforms such as Weibo and TikTok. As a result, the campaign transformed the public’s attitude towards dental care to prevention rather than solution, whilst also reshaping Crest’s brand image to ‘all-around oral protection’. 

Joe Yue, creative partner at GREY Hong Kong, said, “I love Crest’s new brand proposition. The brand draws insights from real-life matters and illustrates the relationship between being born with smiles and being encouraged to smile. Crest also provides the right emotional value for its target consumer group. Because of better dental protection, we can have the confidence to smile, breaking through traditional barriers through strong brand empathy.”

Meanwhile, Shannon Li, vice president of oral health for Greater China at P&G China, commented, “Consumers’ oral health awareness and practices are improving. This year, Crest is furthering this movement by introducing a new line of products for dental care with the aim of bringing more protection and more smiles.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

Shopee reportedly cutting more jobs–this time in China

China – Regional e-commerce giant Shopee has reportedly cut more jobs, this time in the Chinese market, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.

The recent layoffs in China follows recent reported layoffs from Shopee in Singapore, Indonesia, and in Latin America.

According to SCMP, the layoffs are to optimise operating efficiency with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency across Shopee’s business. In addition, they will be extending support to their affected colleagues during this transition.

However, the report didn’t mention how much of Shopee China’s workforce are impacted.

It should be recalled that Shopee’s parent company Sea has also announced that it is shutting some of its projects and downsizing staff in Garena and Sea Labs.

Shopee is one of the latest tech companies to announce employee layoffs, including Netflix, Snap, Oracle, and Hootsuite.

Marketing Featured East Asia

FMCG company Liby appoints Essence as integrated media agency in China

Shanghai, China – Data and measurement-driven media agency Essence has been appointed by fast moving consumer goods company Liby as its integrated media partner in China. The remit includes consulting, strategy, content innovation, media planning and media activation for all of Liby’s brand and performance marketing activities across the market.

Liby joins Essence’s rapidly growing portfolio of clients, including Chang’an Ford, Crocs, GAC Motor, Google, Hermès, UPS and War Horse, across its Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai offices.

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Guangzhou, Liby is a leading enterprise in the Chinese daily chemical industry with a mission to bring health and happiness to every family. Through nine production bases, over 30 branches and more than 10,000 employees across the country, Liby offers various products for fabric washing and care, tableware cleaning and oral care, with brands such as Liby, Kispa and BlueSky Liu Bi Zhi.

Benjamin Wei, CEO at Essence China, said, “It is imperative for brands to be ready for the challenges of communicating with consumers in today’s complex, competitive and ever-changing media ecosystem. With Essence’s full-service media offering, defined by an approach to strategy, analytics and creativity grounded in data, and dedicated to delivering value through innovation, we are excited to partner with Liby to create value for its brands by creating value for its consumers.”

He added, “Supported by our next-generation tools, technology, and data-driven service model that enables smarter and more efficient decision-making, we are looking forward to helping Liby transform its approach to marketing and achieve its business goals in its next phase of growth.”