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China’s BlueFocus acquires We Are Social

We Are SocialBlueFocusBlueFocus Communications, a marketing services group in China primarily operating in the PR domain, has taken a significant step in not only taking its service beyond PR but to also becoming an international player with the acquisition of five-year-old social media agency We Are Social. While the London-based agency already has an office in Singapore, apart from New York, Paris, Milan, Munich, Sydney and Sao Paulo, the move is expected to further grow We Are Social’s Asia presence.

The announcement was made by Co-Founder Robin Grant in a post morning today, where he said, “We want to put social thinking at the centre of marketing. For both companies, this isn’t just an acquisition, it’s a strategic partnership. It’ll enable us to achieve our vision, by building out our global infrastructure and entering new markets, accelerating our fast growth trajectory. We’ll have unparalleled insight and access to the fast-growing Chinese market, something our global clients have already been asking us for.”

We Are Social is selling 82.8 per cent interest in the business and the deal is touted at USD 30 million. The company will remain an independent brand, led by its existing management team around the world. A big part of the reason that the social media company chose BlueFocus was due to the freedom that they would continue to have. “Our brand and culture will remain unchanged, but we’ll be bigger, better and stronger,” said Mr Grant.

The founders – Mr Grant and Nathan McDonald, will drive expansion into new territories beginning with China. “We’ll become BlueFocus’s primary digital agency brand outside China, bringing social media expertise on a global scale to the group, transforming it into one with an international network of operations,” divulged Mr Grant.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Beijing, BlueFocus Communication Group claims to be China’s largest marketing services group. It is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange with a market cap of USD 3.7 billion and over 2,800 employees. Currently 50 per cent of its revenues come from digital.

The company owns a range of PR, media buying, experiential, digital, digital advertising and network gaming businesses in China, including Blue Digital (formerly BlueFocus PR) with 23 offices across China and over 1,000 employees. BlueFocus has the stated ambition of growing revenues 10 times over in the next 10 years.

In context to the acquisition, the company said in a statement, “We Are Social provides the perfect platform for us to expand our digital operations outside China. We Are Social has been exceptionally successful over the last five years, and we’re confident that with our support, they can go on to do even bigger and better things.”