Fleishman-Hillard Invests in Global Initiative to Support Chinese Companies Expanding Abroad

September 15, 2011

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Unique Chinese Masters Scholarship and Fast-Track Talent Program Launched in Partnership With Prestigious U.S. and European Universities

DALIAN, China, Sept. 15, 2011 – Building on a proven record of helping blue-chip Chinese companies integrate into foreign markets, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications today announced the formation of a Global China Practice. This practice harnesses the global resources of the firm in support of Chinese companies expanding overseas. With years of experience helping Chinese companies establish their businesses and their brands in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Africa, Fleishman-Hillard is intensifying its focus on the hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies poised for global growth.

The Global China platform was announced at a special media briefing at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, where Fleishman-Hillard President and CEO Dave Senay was joined by Serge Dumont, vice chairman of Omnicom Group, the parent company of Fleishman-Hillard, and Jez Frampton, CEO of Interbrand Group, another Omnicom company and co-sponsor of the briefing, “Transforming Chinese Brands from Big to GREAT: Insights for Building True Brand Value in China & Abroad.”

“Our 40 Omnicom-owned agencies operating in China represent every major marketing and communications discipline,” said Dumont. “They are committed to developing Chinese talent to be best in class and help clients create, manage and communicate their reputations and continuously increase the value of their brands – in China and around the world.”

The Global China Practice is a worldwide network of senior Fleishman-Hillard practitioners with deep experience supporting Asian multinationals’ successful forays into new markets. The practice will help Chinese companies in a variety of ways, including:

  • Building awareness and brands.
  • Supporting mergers, acquisitions and cross-border financial communications.
  • Managing stakeholder relationships.
  • Driving corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Fleishman-Hillard’s Greater China business has grown nearly 250 percent in the past five years and is on track to triple in the next five years. To serve this growth, the firm is committed to identifying, training and retaining the best Chinese talent in the communications industry.

Chinese Masters Partnership With Top Universities

As part of this commitment, Fleishman-Hillard is announcing partnerships with leading universities in the United States and Europe for a special China Masters Exchange Program that will identify and nurture Chinese students who are seeking careers in communications. Initial partners are Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; and the London School of Economics.

Incubating high-potential Chinese students in Western business hubs will help these individuals fast-track their careers by working with senior public affairs and corporate communications counselors. After a year of on-the-job training in the United States or Europe, these “China Masters” will transfer to the firm’s China operations, where they will be uniquely equipped to contribute a global perspective.

This initiative will fortify Fleishman-Hillard’s ability to serve Chinese enterprises locally and globally, as well as enhance cultural collaboration companywide.

The exchange program is open to Chinese-speaking students studying abroad. Participants will receive US$5,000 scholarships for their final semesters at partner universities. Upon graduating, they will be offered an entry-level position at a Fleishman-Hillard office in the United States or Europe for one year, followed by transfer to one of the agency’s offices in Greater China.

“For most of the past 30 years, China has been a destination for investment from more developed economies,” Senay said. “We have entered an era in which China is also a very significant source of investment for economies all over the world.

“The dramatic success of Chinese companies domestically is increasingly leading them to look for opportunities offshore,” Senay continued. “Relatively new to global markets, they often confront obstacles in terms of cultural differences, government concerns, lack of brand awareness, and other challenges. Fleishman-Hillard provides an active commitment to – and understanding of – China, as well as extraordinary communications expertise in every corner of the world. This initiative will significantly strengthen our value proposition for Chinese companies expanding globally. We will also be creating a new generation of communicators who have the cultural understanding and global outlook to really bridge East/West cultural differences. The Global China Practice is a strategic investment in future-building for our firm.”

The global co-leaders of this practice are Joanne Wong in Hong Kong and Bill Black in Washington, D.C. Wong is an executive vice president and senior partner who has counseled a wide array of Chinese and Western companies on strategic communications. She leads the firm’s Client Service division for the Asia Pacific region and speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and English fluently. Black is a senior partner and co-chair of Fleishman-Hillard’s public affairs practice. He has also helped major Chinese companies navigate global expansion, along with working on behalf of corporate clients around the globe on relationships with external stakeholders, including governments, think tanks and NGOs. Before joining Fleishman-Hillard, he served in leadership roles with a number of key members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Successful entry into new markets requires coordinated and sustained public affairs programs to build relationships, as well as corporate communications to establish the brand and the company behind it,” Senay said. “For companies seeking to raise capital as part of their expansion plans, financial communication and stakeholder management programs also are critically important.”

Fleishman-Hillard was named “Asia Pacific PR Network of the Year” in 2004 and 2008 in Campaign magazine/Haymarket Publishing’s Asia Pacific PR Awards. The Holmes Report named Fleishman-Hillard “Japanese Consultancy of the Year” in 2010 and “Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year” in 2011.

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