FYI 5.13.2009

M&C Saatchi Launches Beijing Office; Woongjin Appoints Cheil; Mango Hires Vizeum; Youku Creates Mobile Video Platform; Business Confidence Declines in Hong Kong

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He Chang
He Chang
M&C Saatchi has opened its first office in Beijing to work with marketers including the Taiwanese food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp., the Chinese search engine and the German car maker Mercedes-Benz. The independent agency also launched a digital agency in China called M&C Saatchi-i, which will have offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

Both M&C Saatchi-i and M&C's Beijing office will be led by Managing Director He Chang. Previously, Mr. He, 28, was the chief creative of the U.S. search engine in China. He has also served as a chief designer at and director-user experience at, an online travel search engine in China.
South Korea's Woongjin Cosmetics has appointed Cheil Worldwide's Beijing office to handle its strategy and creative business in China. Woongjin is one of the top five cosmetics companies in South Korea. Its products are sold door-to-door as well as at spas and facial salons.

The company wants to upgrade its image in China. Cheil will handle the brand's overall direction in the mainland as well as developing creative and below-the-line strategies. The win, worth about $1 million in billings, follows a pitch against the incumbent and another South Korean agency, LG Ad.
The Spanish apparel maker Mango has moved its media planning and buying business in China to Vizeum from Carat, following a pitch that also included Havas-owned Media Planning Group ( MPG) and at least one other unidentified agency. Vizeum and Carat are both part of Aegis Media. Mango's creative for China continues to be handled centrally in Spain.
On May 17, World Telecommunication Day, the Chinese online video site will launch a mobile video patform ( designed to work with the 3G networks in China launched earlier this year by three service providers--China Mobile Communications Corp., China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom. Youku is also working with mobile handset makers, by creating built-in applications for mobile phones.

To build its mobile video operations, Youku has partnered with Shanghai Media Group's Dragon New Media to build a mobile video syndication platform for traditional media content. It is also cooperating with China Radio International and China National Radio, both of which have a mobile video content license.
Hong Kong executives are becoming as depressed as the global economy. Many businesses in the Chinese territory are based on manufacturing in southern China's Guangdong province, which has seen exports dive in the past six months, or in financial services and real estate, two sectors that have been hard-hit globally.

As a result, the confidence level among Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong dropped by 30% (or 17 points) compared to a year ago, according to Nielsen's commercial finance monitor survey in Hong Kong. The survey was conducted by telephone with 1,000 executives in Hong Kong.

"Both SMEs and corporations are concerned about the Hong Kong and global economic downturn as well as the decrease in revenue as they conduct their business in 2009," said Justin Garrett, Nielsen's financial services director in Hong Kong. "It's worth noting that SMEs in Hong Kong consider the China economic downturn a major challenge to their business, while corporations are facing increased difficulty in securing loans from banks."

Compared to SMEs, corporate decision-makers seem to be more pessimistic, with 90% considering the business environment in 2009 to be slowing down (vs 76% among SMEs), and 63% skeptical about their own company's financial performance (vs 54% among SMEs) as a result of the weakening macro-economic outlook. A respective 39% and 38% of the corporate and SME decision-makers plan to slow down their investments in operations this year.

"Companies and consumers globally have been battered and bruised by an onslaught of bad news in the last six months. The collapse of long-established financial institutions globally, widespread reports on the mini-bonds issue, depreciation of wealth and investment as well as rising unemployment rates have combined to dampen Hong Kong people's confidence," Mr. Garrett said.

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