AnalogFolk has launched a new Asia Pacific office in Shanghai, opening operations in China to cater to its client’s needs.
The move comes two years after opening its Hong Kong office, which now counts around 20 staff, and opens as part of a strategic partnership with Jacob’s Creek, which it says is an extension of the brand’s existing global relationship with AnalogFolk’s Sydney office.
The Shanghai office will be led by managing director and partner Wayne Fan and creative director and partner Tommy Liou.
Chris Ryan, managing director and partner of AnalogFolk Asia, spoke to The Drum ahead of the launch and said that it opened the office specifically due to client demand.
“Our move into Mainland China was driven by client need. China's economy will continue to grow more than 6% in the coming 4 years according to the IMF, but the experiences Chinese consumers have with western brands will be a significant determinant of success. We've seen big western brands fail in China, despite strong growth in their sector. We aim to help our clients get ahead of forecast growth in their respective industry,” he said.
Prior to the opening, AnalogFolk has been managing the China business from Hong Kong but Ryan said the business ultimately needed support on the mainland.
“On-the-ground support is ultimately necessary. Before we launched Shanghai, we delivered in China from Hong Kong. It is possible to achieve, but taking the relationship to the next level requires the leadership and presence in China that Wayne Fan and Tommy Liou bring. Having a high degree of regular and - preferably - face-to-face contact with our clients in China gives them greater confidence in navigating the challenges of the China media landscape.
"In terms of its impact on the positioning of the agency at global level, opening in Shanghai further boosts our ability to provide the expertise expected from big agencies, but with the continued passion and pace of a start-up. In all of the markets in which we operate, our clients have a high degree of focus on business growth in China. Being there for them is incredibly important and will certainly positively impact our position as an independently owned global digital creative agency,” he added.
Fan will report into Ryan, while Liou will report into Harry Llufrio, ECD and partner AnalogFolk Asia.
In terms of next steps, while Ryan reiterated the focus on existing clients, he said that Chinese brands looking to grow in Western markets was also a big opportunity for the agency.
“We intend to scale quickly to support global clients with interests in China. They will be our priority in 2018. At the same time, Chinese brands are increasingly internationalising and those opportunities are already starting to surface for us,” he said.