FYI 11.03.2010

GM, SAIC Form Used Car Venture; About.com Hires Florian Pihs; Tribal DDB Appoints Chris Jones; Publicis Promotes Mark Birman; Dinghu Mountain Spring Hires Publicis; Aegis Media Appoints Des Bateman; Omnicom Acquires Unisono; Haier, Strauss Water Form Joint Venture

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General Motors Corp. has formed a joint venture with SAIC subsidiary Shanghai Automotive Industry Sales Co. and Shanghai GM to sell and service used cars, the first of its kind in China. The joint venture will offer vehicles from Shanghai GM's Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands as well as selected brands from other automakers.

Pilot used-car facilities are planned for Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and Shandong province, with four outlets expected to open by 2011 and a total of 20 within the next five years.

Lifestyle content publisher About.com has hired Florian Pihs as VP, client solutions in China. About.com currently has about 300 expert guides in China handling topics like fashion, food, health, hobbies, pets, travel, education, sports, toys and games.

Previously, Mr. Pihs was a digital marketing planner at McCann Group's MRM Worldwide in Beijing, where he built performance marketing capabilities and digital strategies and programs for Chinese advertisers. He also founded the Web Analytics Wednesday forum in Beijing.

Tribal DDB has appointed Chris Jones as exec creative director of its China operation, a new position based in Shanghai. Previously, he was digital creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam.
Publicis has promoted Mark Birman to exec creative director of its Hong Kong office. He succeeds his former creative partner and the agency's outgoing exec creative director, David Szabo, who has resigned to pursue other interests. Previously, Mr. Birman was the agency's creative director, working on regional accounts for brands like Western Union and Marriott.
Guangdong-based bottled water company Dinghu Mountain Spring has hired Publicis Worldwide, Guangzhou to handle advertising and product promotion for three of its brands, Dinghu Mountain Spring, Snow (Piao Xue) and Oxygen Bar, through 2012.
Aegis Media has appointed Des Bateman in Hong Kong as group planning director, managing the operations of the planning department for both Carat and Isobar in that city. He succeeds Brandon Cheung, who has moved to a new position in the group's Isobar division, leading its social marketing discipline. Previously, Mr. Bateman was a business director at GroupM's Mindshare office in London.
Omnicom Group's DAS division has acquired Unisono Field Marketing, a shopper marketing, channel management and event marketing agency based in Shanghai. Omnicom acquired a majority stake in the agency in March 2006.

"Omnicom's acquisition of 100% equity will allow us to invest even more to enhance the scale and reach of our operations in this vast market where key clients are in need of increased outsourcing services," said Olaf Litjens, a DAS exec VP in charge of China retail activation and sales effectiveness.

Haier Group has signed a joint venture with Strauss Water, which specializes in drinking water purification, filtering, heating and cooling systems, to launch drinking water products in China starting in 2011. With an initial 50/50 investment of $20 million, the joint venture will purchase products from Strauss Water and receive distribution and sale services, including technical service, from Haier Group's subsidiaries.

The partnership will leverage the combined know-how, capabilities and expertise of Strauss Water with Haier's experience in marketing, distribution and service in China, said Strauss Group President & CEO Gadi Lesin.


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