A Chinese Ad Tech Titan Looks to U.S., Partners With Twitter-Owned MoPub

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iPinYou CEO Grace Huang.
iPinYou CEO Grace Huang. Credit: Courtesy iPinYou
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IPinYou is regarded as China's largest programmatic ad buying platform, but it's also a company most U.S.-based marketers have likely never heard of.

That might change now that iPinYou is setting up its first international office in Bellevue, Wash., and establishing a partnership with Twitter's MoPub, which has one of the largest exchanges for mobile in-app ads, the company said Wednesday.

IPinYou lets marketers buy ad space from publishers programmatically, and like most in the industry, it sees mobile as the next new digital frontier.

Its new office will connect U.S. brands with Chinese markets, and Chinese brands with markets abroad.

"On one hand, we help U.S. brands and advertisers connect [with] Chinese consumers via the iPinYou platform and extensive inventories in China," Sara Ye, president of international markets at iPinYou, told Ad Age in an email. "On the other hand, we help Chinese brands and advertisers to connect with U.S. consumers by leveraging the mobile inventory provided by MoPub in the U.S."

Meanwhile, iPinYou's move might also set the backdrop for it to acquire a U.S. agency or ad tech company. Such acquisitions by Chinese companies have surged in recent years.

"iPinYou is always open to acquisition opportunities, including with foreign companies," Ms. Ye said. "Acquisitions help to expand the company's business in different geographical regions and provides more timely support to advertisers and marketers who are interested in connecting their brands with Chinese consumers in the most cost efficient and effective way."

In the future, iPinYou said it wants to open the Chinese market to advertisers from all major regions, including Europe.

"Our new U.S. office and presence in North America are important milestones for the company," Grace Huang, iPinYou founder and CEO, said in a statement. "It represents a critical step forward in our mission to open the Chinese advertising market to North American companies and allow Chinese brands the opportunity to look outside the country to reach new customers."

Last December, iPinYou received a $75 million pre-IPO investment from its exclusive data partner, China Mobile, among other investors. Beyond China Mobile, UnionPay and AsiaInfo are also iPinYou strategic partners, the company said. The company has a self-proclaimed 60% market share in the Chinese programmatic space.

"The regional characteristics of Chinese consumer preferences are significantly different from North American markets, and we hope our leading expertise in the region provides overseas advertisers the confidence to establish themselves in the Chinese market," Ms. Huang added.