WPP hosted an opening ceremony Monday for its new Shanghai campus, where more than 3,000 people are taking over 20 floors of a skyscraper. The holding company says it's the largest office leasing deal ever signed in Shanghai's central business district.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said the move would promote collaboration between the holding company's various businesses, benefiting clients and employees.
Over the next few weeks, 26 WPP companies will move into the new building, from 10 different locations. Many, including Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson and GroupM, are leaving an office tower in the leafy, centrally located Former French Concession for a 484,000 square-foot space in an area north of the city center that local officials are working to redevelop.
Greater China is WPP's third biggest market after the U.S. and U.K., with revenue of $1.65 billion. With the Chinese economy slowing down, the company's revenue growth in greater China was 1.2% in the first three quarters of 2015 versus the year-earlier period. Last year the company had logged 7.9% revenue growth there. Despite the country's slowdown, Mr. Sorrell said he remained a "raging, unabashed China bull."
The WPP CEO expressed irritation when Ad Age asked how much money the office move would save, in addition to boosting teamwork within WPP. He called the question "bizarre."
"That's the typical cynical Ad Age question," he said, adding later, "It's not about that. It's about getting people to work together for clients."
Mr. Sorrell continued: "Having people in 10 different locations, not sharing knowledge and understanding is really … it makes you competitively weaker, and clients as a result competitively weaker."