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Sorrell links Belt and Road to MNCs' future

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-11 08:17

Sorrell links Belt and Road to MNCs' future

Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the London-based multinational advertising and public relations company.

NEW YORK — China's Belt and Road Initiative and other similar efforts are really important for the future growth of multinationals and their clients, the CEO of a leading global advertising company told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The next billion middle-class consumers are not going to come from the United States or Western Europe. They're going to come from Asia, from Latin America, from Africa, the Middle East and from South, Central and Eastern Europe," said Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the London-based multinational advertising and public relations company.

"So, initiatives like the Belt and Road are really important for our company and our clients," he added.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes and promote common development among all countries and regions involved.

For the advertising and marketing services industry, the dominant growth engines in 2017 are United States and China, said Sorrell, adding that China, including Hong Kong, is WPP's third-largest market, accounting for about $1.6 billion of revenues out of the $26 billion in total and 14,000 workers out of about 200,000.

"Growth has plateaued in the last two to three years and 2017 looks like another year of modest growth in comparison to the growth that we've seen in previous years going back beyond 2015 to earlier times. However, we remain unabashed bullish on China and the Chinese economy," he said, describing the Chinese market as "a really important part of our company."

Meanwhile, he noted that the United States remains the biggest economy in the world and WPP's largest market, accounting for about $6.5 billion of the group's 2016 revenues.

"America will always be important in our strategy whether it's Buy America First, Buy America or Hire America, but the other markets of the world, particularly post-Brexit, are becoming even more important, too," he said.

"So, our focus remains on Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe, which is already one-third of our business. We want them to be 45 percent," he added.

Sorrell said he hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump will establish a strong relationship and the two largest economies in the world will strengthen rather than weaken their ties.

Should there be a trade war between the US and China, it would "not be helpful, to say the least," he warned.

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