Publicis buys China’s interactive agency

MUMBAI: Publicis Groupe S.A. has acquired Chinese independent interactive marketing agency Communication Central Group (CCG).

With 200 employees in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shenzhen, CCG is the region’s only digital agency to offer a complete range of in-house services, from creative design to complex technology integration.

Upon closing, privately-owned CCG will be re-branded Digitas Greater China. This strategic step marks the international roll-out of Digitas in Asia, following its recent deployment in the UK, as well as in France through the acquisition of Business Interactif.

Digitas Greater China will continue to service all of CCG’s existing clients, including Philips, Unilever, Bank of China (Hong Kong), Intel, HSBC Investments, Hang Seng Bank, Hongkong Land, China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai), Nippon Paint, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, as well as Digitas clients with footprints in China. Digitas will also be launching Prodigious Greater China. Prodigious Greater China extends the geographic borders — beyond the US and Europe — of the first-in-market, standalone production company focused on pairing innovation in technology and execution to bring digital creative branding to life.

Under the new structure, CCG CEO Neil Runcieman will become president and managing director of Digitas Greater China. Runcieman, whose digital activities date back to 1995, is the founder of CCG.

Digitas chairman and CEO David Kenny is charged with the global expansion of the Digitas agency brand, and is also a member of the Executive Committee of Publicis Groupe (P12), where he leads the Groupe’s overall digital and interactive strategy. Publicis Groupe acquired Digitas earlier this year as part of a broad strategic expansion into the digital area.

Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy said, “The acquisition of CCG, with its impressive range of interactive and digital capabilities in China, is a decisive step for Publicis Groupe. When we acquired Digitas earlier this year, we announced our intention to establish a cutting-edge international digital network within our Groupe. Digitas’ expansion into China through the creation of Digitas Greater China follows our recent launches of Digitas France and Digitas UK. Neil and his teams at CCG will give our clients reach into the fast-growing Chinese market, while allowing Digitas to further develop its global presence. At the same time, this move represents another step of Publicis Groupe’s digital strategy and our determination to maintain a leading edge in the region.”