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Havas expands presence in China with acquisition of indie agency Front Networks


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

March 29, 2022 | 3 min read

French holding company Havas has announced the takeover of Front Networks, an independent Chinese creative agency that employs over 200 staff and specializes in digital and social content.

Shanghai skyline

Havas has acquired Front Networks, an agency based out of Shanghai and Beijing / Unsplash

Havas’s goal of increasing its presence in China will be given a boost by integrating Front into Havas’s existing Chinese agency network, bringing with it prestigious clients – including BMW, Rolls-Royce, Vivo, Microsoft, Columbia, Casarte, Bank of China and Nestlé – and an experienced team.

Yannick Bolloré, the chairman and chief exec of Havas Group, commented: “China has always been of strategic importance to us and I am thrilled to see we are keeping up the same drive and momentum in this market.”

The Chinese economy has taken a major hit with the re-emergence of Covid-19 and the return of lockdown measures in its cities. But the country is still a major territory for agency groups and it is expected to overtake the US in GDP in just over 10 years. Expanding there is a major priority for companies such as Havas.

“China is evolving and diversifying at a rapid pace, presenting us with many opportunities for growth,“ said Bollore. “By partnering with the best there is to offer in China, Havas Group will surely create more meaningful moments and value for all our clients, consumers, brands and communities.“

Metaverse demand

Havas will also hope the acquisition bolsters its capabilities in metaverse marketing. Front has partnered with clients in the past on digital transformation and digital storytelling projects – fields related closely to client demand in this buzzy area.

Karl Wu, the chairman and chief exec of Havas Group Greater China, said: “In the 20 years since its formation, Front Networks has proven its business strength, agility and adaptability during China’s digital emergence and evolution. Amid the arrival of the metaverse, bringing Front Networks on board is an important strategic step to further enrich our digital solutions for our clients in China. Under our one Havas Village roof, we will together continue our mission to create meaningful differences for brands, businesses and people.“

Founded in 2004, Front has offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Chief executive and founder Felix Teng said: “We pride ourselves in having been recognized by Havas, the industry leader in integration and entrepreneurship. With the Group’s resources and empowering tools, we will be able to broaden our horizon, extend our solutions and add scale to the depth of our services. Its philosophy is very exciting and we are looking forward to doing more meaningful things together.”

Agencies Metaverse China

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