Agencies turn attention to China

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While I was at sister publication, PRWeek, we often chronicled PR agencies continued march into China and other areas of Asia where they hoped to grow not just revenues from multinationals but from Chinese-grown businesses as well. Now, The Wall Street Journal's Emily Steel points out in a July 22 piece, that the big holding companies are interested in another marketing discipline in China, online ad buying. From the Journal:

Publicis Groupe SA and Interpublic Group of Cos., hoping to capitalize on projections for fast-paced growth in the country, are now planning to launch digital-ad buying units in China, company executives say.

Most large advertising companies, like Publicis, have been investing in China for several years through acquisitions and partnerships—a move that provided a crucial buffer during the economic downturn in the U.S. and Europe. WPP PLC, in particular, has established a strong foothold in China by snapping up companies and aggressively pursuing partners for specialty areas.

The next frontier is the business of buying online ads—a lucrative sector that has become a sophisticated business in the U.S. Advertising companies are looking to take their expertise and apply it to China's fast-growing digital market, where the Internet population now ranks as the largest in the world. The efforts are likely to face some hurdles though, ranging from technology issues to relations with the Chinese government.

And where does direct marketing sit in all of this? As we work to plan our editorial calendar for the rest of the year, I'd like to hear from the DM community about areas of global growth, China in particular, and what challenges you face.

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