WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell pinpoints China & US for continuing business growth

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, has pinpointed global brand growth in both China and the US as a theme of business he expects to see increasingly take place during 2015.

Writing for The Times, Sorrell discussed the strength of business and the global economy, praising chancellor George Osbourne for the UK’s economic recovery, which he said had “exceeded expectations and left many European rivals trailing” and criticised major companies for having failed to invest in growth, claiming that in total, globally, businesses were sitting on an estimated $7trn.

“If pre-crash confidence blurred into irrational exuberance, post-crash insecurity has produced an excess of caution. Six years on, corporates still bear the scars of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the chaos that followed,” he stated.

An inconclusive result for the upcoming general election in May could cause further uncertainty in an already cautious UK market, Sorrell warned, but also highlights the strong forecast in advertising spend for the year of 5.7 per cent as something for the industry to be positive about.

He cited the weakness of the European market as a reason for the dominance of both China and the US, claiming that the Western world was “slow to wake up” at the resurgence happening in Chinese business, which he added was beginning to eye international expansion.

“Xiaomi is the low-cost smartphone maker that has taken on and beaten Samsung and Apple in China. The literal translation of Xiaomi is “little rice”, but there’s no longer anything small about it,” he used as one example of major Chinese business growth.

Finally, Sorrell’s attention turned to next week’s CES conference in Las Vegas, where new technology from all around the world will be on show to many thousands of attendees, and where he expects to see more cheer from US executives that from elsewhere.

“Buoyed by energy self-sufficiency through shale gas and by high-value manufacturing, driven by sophisticated capital-intensive techniques such as robotics and 3D printing, America’s prospects are good. Its own deficit-wrangling aside, the US has been enjoying positive economic news. Production is on the up, as are employment figures and retail sales.”

He added that brands breaking in the US was still a key business strategy, even for Eastern brands, and pinpointed brand growth in the US and China as a priority for global companies this year.

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