Germany's GfK teams up with Shanghai market research company

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SHANGHAI--The new China office of GfK Group, Germany's top market research organization, has joined a growing number of inter-national pulse-takers that are trying to quickly broaden their reach into the Chinese mainland by teaming up with domestic partners.

GfK Market Research and Business Consulting Shanghai, which opened its headquarters here in January, have forged a strategic alliance with Shanghai DiagAid Marketing Research. Founded in 1992, DiagAid provides market analysis, new product development and advertising and brand research through its offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou and associates in 16 major cities.

The alliance falls short of joint-venture status -- the route taken by some of the other global pollsters including Gallup and Ipsos.

From GfK's viewpoint, the partnership is "the first and logical step in search of pillars to bridge into the Chinese market research market," says Roland Rosset, managing director of the China operation.

DiagAid offers extensive local experience, established production units and a strong client list. It has conducted more than 500 re-search projects in 70 cities across China.

In return, DiagAid gets to tap into an international network and gain access to global research practices.

Chen Fuguo, DiagAid's general manager, says his company was looking for a "renowned international partner" in advance of the tougher competition expected following China's membership in the World Trade Organization.

"Chinese companies will have to vie with international competitors and therefore [will] need better business intelligence not only for China but also for potential markets in other Asian countries," Mr. Chen Fuguo says.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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