WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has highlighted his commitment to growing within fast growing markets, such as China, by stating at a company event that if he could 'double up' the group's business within the region, then he would.
Speaking at a WPP conference to analyse the recent BrandZ Top 100 Chinese Brands pollthat was released in December last year, Sorrell told the Financial Times emerging markets editor James King that he believed the future growth of the company would stem from withthe emerging markets.
He began by explaining that he had recently returned from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which he described as "magnificent" and one that "surpassed a lot of people's expectations."
His reason for this surprise, he explained, was due to the negative portrayal painted by 'the Western press.'
He said: "A lot of our attitudes are coloured by the Western press. That's the problem. I often feel that the Western media doesn't want Russia to succeed and they certainly don't want China to succeed."
Sir Martin's viewpoint would find support later in the day from Lord Wei of Shoredtich who agreed with Sorrell's perspective on the Western media's portrayal of developing nations.
"Having strong positions in fast growth markets...was a virtue, now it's become a vice. We have seen large numbers of our multi-national clients with big exposures to Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey, Argentina, Venezuela, wherever it happens to be - because the impact of tapering on currencies have been affected by that too. So it's not as popular as it was," he continued of the change in attitudes to fast growing nations.
This led Sir Martin to state his desire to double his business within such nations, with China his third biggest region at present.
"If I could double up our business in China at a stroke, I would do it'" he stated, explaining that the country was worth $1.5bn in revenue to WPP, the third biggest region behind the UK at $3bn and the US at $7bn. Meanwhile Germany, he said, was worth $1.4bn and France between $850m-$900m.
"If I could double it [China] to the same size as the UK, which it will reach at some point in time, then I would, although it is going to take a little bit of time in the context of our business. For WPP, China is the third largest market. For it to get to the second largest market, it's going to take some time."
He added that he would wish to do the same in Russia. India and Brazil, as well as several other emergin countries such as Iran, all of which makeup a third of the company's business, which he would like to see grow to make between 40-45 per cent in time.
"Asia, Latin America, Africa and Central Eastern Europe are critical to our future along with things like new media and data investment management and horizontally which gets people to work together, but not least the fast growing markets which are still the engine. But there is a change today than if we were having this discussion a year ago," he added, alluding to the slow down in growth of the Chinese economy and Western attitudes to these countries.
Later in the day, Lord Wei also address the room of UK and Chinese business and media professionals to also laud the growth of the Chinese business sectorto call upon the Western World to help develop the Chinese Dream to become a Global Dream.