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    Omnicom group pledges 'heavy focus' on China
Jiang Jingjing
2005-06-14 06:09

The world's largest advertising and communication company Omnicom Group Inc has pledged to "focus very heavily" on China in a bid to maintain its leading position here within three to five years' time.

President and chief executive officer of Omnicom Asia-Pacific Michael Birkin said recently in Beijing that China is the driving force of the company's business in the Asia-Pacific region.

"In the past two years, we have found there is an increasing need to invest in the country, which has the world's fastest growing economy," Birkin said.

Talking in an exclusive interview with China Daily, he said the firm would not only eye multi-national clients, but more importantly, develop a relationship with Chinese enterprises.

"There is an increasing number of large-scale Chinese companies that seek going overseas. Omnicom is strong at helping them manage strategies in China and communications abroad," the president said.

He said the US-based Omnicom is a brand-building company, and that it can offer exactly what many Chinese firms are in urgent need of.

Omnicom, which is headquartered in New York, has a limited number of Chinese clients, including China National Offshore Oil Corp.

Birkin said the Chinese market was very dynamic.

"The requirement is complex for a communication company in the country. We have to be flexible in many ways."

He said there are many different regions throughout the country, which had a mixture of local and international clients and a whole variety of media.

Birkin said the firm will focus on developing traditional and creative advertising in China.

The company will also strengthen its leading position in public relations.

"We plan to develop the businesses of financial public relations, government relations and investor relations," Birkin said.

The company also aims to make better use of media resources, such as TV, print, outdoor, sponsorship and retailing activities.

He said the first thing Omnicom needed to do in China was promote itself.

"We should make sure our clients are aware how strong we are globally, and that we can provide more for the clients than they can imagine," he said.

"We are the best in the world. And I believe that we can achieve that in China. We do not like to be anything lower than No 1."

Birkin said recruiting staff was one of the most important factors that would guarantee Omnicom's success in China.

He said the company would make every effort to build its professional base in China, including through acquisitions.

"Mergers and acquisitions are not primary strategy for us at the current stage. But we will carry this out when it is necessary," he said.

Omnicom thinks highly of local staff and management. Wherever Omnicom goes, it seeks localization, the president said.

The group has more than 7,000 staff in the Asia-Pacific region.

Omnicom Group Inc provides advertising, strategic media planning and buying, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other speciality communications services to more than 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

(China Daily 06/14/2005 page11)


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