TBWA, Hakuhodo bring joint venture to China

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[Tokyo] Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide and Hakuhodo, Japan's second-largest ad agency, have "evolved" their G1 global partnership to handle Nissan into a 50/50 joint venture in China called TBWAHakuhodo China, said Keith Smith, TBWA's Hong Kong-based regional chairman, Asia/Pacific.

The new agency, based in Guangzhou, with a support office in Beijing, expands on G1, an alliance created by TBWA and Hakuhodo in Japan five years ago to manage Nissan's global business. G1 is responsible for the "Shift" global image campaign. TBWAHakuhodo China, whose 60 staff will operate separately from the TBWA and Hakuhodo offices that already exist in China, will work only for Nissan in China, but Mr. Smith said the agency might eventually seek other clients. Nissan previously worked with a number of agencies in China. Media buying remains at Omnicom's OMD. Nissan predicts China will become its third-largest market by 2008, behind Japan and the U.S.

G1 will continue to oversee Nissan's advertising in other markets like Europe, but the TBWA-Hakuhodo joint venture involving "a higher level of integration and much more sharing of the business" may be extended to other markets, Mr. Smith said.

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