Ketchum Takes Majority Stake in Greater China Operations
Investment Strengthens Presence in Asia and Further Builds Client Service Footprint in Rapidly Growing BRIC Countries
Ketchum Greater China
New York and Hong Kong, Jan. 5, 2011 - Ketchum, a leading global public relations consultancy, today announced it has increased its investment to a majority position in its operations in Greater China, providing an even greater presence for the firm in the Asian market and further building the agency’s client service footprint in the rapidly growing BRIC countries. Ketchum first entered Greater China in 1988 through a partnership with Newscan and shortly thereafter began operating as Ketchum Newscan. Newscan was founded in 1980 by Kenneth Chu and Betty Lo, who will continue as significant equity partners and will retain their roles as CEO and President, respectively. They also will continue to lead the Greater China region for Ketchum.
Ketchum’s decision to assume a greater ownership position in its Greater China operations (consisting of five offices throughout mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) was driven by continuously increasing client demand, the operation’s award-winning work, and its excellent growth and operational performance. It also advances Ketchum’s overall strategy to support clients in major global media and commercial markets. An example is Ketchum’s October 2010 acquisition of Maslov PR in Russia, another robust BRIC economy. Other significant progress in developing the firm’s geographic client service strategy includes the 2010 completion of its merger with Pleon in Europe to form Ketchum Pleon, the industry’s largest, most diversified consultancy in the region; establishment of a joint venture in the Middle East and North Africa called Ketchum Raad Middle East; and establishment of a new exclusive affiliate relationship in South Korea with local market leader Prain.
“Recognizing the rapidly increasing importance of Greater China to the world economy, Ketchum entered the region with an investment in Newscan in the late ‘80s. From its pioneering roots there, today the agency is among the most respected in Greater China. Our investment in this business allows us to offer our clients both extraordinary on-the-ground capabilities and even stronger linkage with one of the most seamless, integrated agency networks in public relations,” said Ray Kotcher, Senior Partner and CEO, Ketchum. “I have worked closely with Kenneth, Betty and their leadership team for many years, and I have tremendous respect for what they have built and their abilities to further develop Ketchum’s offerings there.”
Jon Higgins, Ketchum Senior Partner and CEO of International Operations, said, “Every major client or prospective client places Greater China at or near the top of its geographic priorities. Now is the perfect time for Ketchum to increase its ownership position in the region. I look forward to seeing the value it yields for our clients and colleagues alike.”
As part of the transaction, in addition to Chu and Lo, the Greater China operation’s board of directors will now include Higgins; Tom Harrison, President and CEO of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group; and Robert Lorfink, Senior Partner, COO and CFO of Ketchum.
“The enormous potential in Greater China leads to a strong demand for communications services from global companies operating in the region and Chinese companies looking at new markets. This is an ideal time to reach this agreement,” said Chu. “We are eager to work with the board and Ketchum’s leadership group to expand our partnership with Ketchum and maximize opportunities for our clients.”
With 200-plus employees in Greater China, Ketchum has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Taipei. The agency has recognized expertise there in corporate communications, financial and investor relations, public affairs, issues and crisis management, the technology sector, brand marketing, and event management.
Ketchum Greater China handles a range of clients, including a number of Ketchum’s global network clients, in addition to clients that operate or are based in China.
In recent years, Ketchum Greater China has provided communication support for some of the most important sporting and cultural events that have been held there and that have contributed to China’s global leadership position, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
Ketchum’s network in Asia Pacific also includes affiliations in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
For more information, visit www.KetchumChinaExpands.com.
A communications innovator and the 2010 Large PR Firm of the Year (Holmes Report and PR News), Ketchum is a leading global communications consultancy and, operating as Ketchum Pleon, is the largest, most diversified agency in the U.K. and continental Europe. With five global practices – Brand Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Food & Nutrition, and Technology – and specialty capabilities that include Access Communications (high- and consumer-tech PR), Concentric Communications (experiential marketing, events and meetings), MMG (clinical trial recruitment), Ketchum Global Research Network, Ketchum Pleon Change (change and workplace communications) and Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, Ketchum leverages its marketing and corporate communication expertise to build brands and reputations for clients. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC), visit www.ketchum.com.
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