Publicis Groupe has announced the acquisition of the Chinese full-service advertising agency W&K Communications. Effective immediately, the agency will be re-branded as Leo Burnett W&K Beijing Advertising Co. and will become part of Leo Burnett Greater China operations. W&K Communications will continue to be led by Mr. Guo Weijun, current Chairman, and Mr. Wang Yi, Managing Director. Both will now report to Michael Wood, CEO of Leo Burnett Greater China.
Founded in 2004, W&K Communications employs nearly one hundred communications specialists between its Beijing and Guangzhou offices. The Chinese agency provides extensive services in advertising, promotions, television production and media buying. Major clients include Air China, Mengniu (Dairy), Yutong (Bus), Holiland (Food), Totole (Condiments) COFCO (Oils and Foodstuffs), PICC (Insurance), Tsingtao Beer and Daliyuan (Food). W&K Communications has been recognized by a number of national awards such as the China Agency Awards (2005-2006), Five Star Diamond Brand (2006), Great Wall Awards (2004-2008), China Creative Awards (2004-2008) and the China EFFIE Awards (2005-2008).
This strategic move once again demonstrates Publicis Groupe’s ongoing determination to strengthen its presence in emerging economies, particularly in China, and increase revenue share from these high-growth markets. The acquisition of W&K Communications follows a series of other recent acquisitions in China, such as EmporioAsia in May, CCG in 2007, as well as Betterway Marketing Solutions and Emotion in 2006. According to ZenithOptimedia forecasts, Chinese advertising expenditure has more than tripled since 2000. The Shanghai World Expo in 2010 and the Asia Games are the next major global events that are expected to stimulate high demand for advertising between 2008 and 2010.
Tom Bernardin, Chairman & CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide, welcomed this development. “This is a very important step for our operation in Greater China especially since it follows Leo Burnett’s acquisition of EmporioAsia earlier this year. We are thrilled to be making this move with Mr. Guo Weijun and Mr. Wang Yi of W & K Communications. Together, we will not only increase our market share, but we will create ideas that will connect with people and impact their behavior in a relevant, interesting and useful way. I anticipate great things from this partnership.”
Guo Weijun, Current Chairman of W & K Communications and Wang Yi, Managing Director of W & K Communications, “We’ve continued to grow at a very steady pace over the past years, and we’ve reached a point where we need to make the jump from local to global. We are very excited about leveraging the resources and international reach of Leo Burnett, and tapping into the wealth of opportunities offered by joining Publicis Groupe. “