Accenture has stepped up its push into marketing services with the acquisition of HO Communication (HO), an independent full-service digital marketing agency in China. Shanghai-based HO employs more than 200 people across the country, with additional offices in Beijing, Chengdu and Nanjing. It has worked with more than 100 clients across China including multinationals like Coca-Cola and local clients like sportswear brand Anta （安踏）, dining app HomEat (隐食家) and public transport app Che Lai Le (车来了).
With marketing services ranging from content creation and creative design to branding and media services, the agency focuses on omni-channel brand experiences and customer engagement. Such expertise is essential in China's highly evolved digital ecommerce market, where Accenture Interactive is set on growing its footprint.
“HO Communication’s leading omni-channel customer-engagement capabilities... combined with Accenture’s scale across all our capabilities Greater China, will provide a compelling client proposition for maximum impact to business performance,” said Jason Chau, managing director of Accenture Interactive Greater China, in a release.
"The combination will put a more complete set of capabilities at the fingertips of our clients, enabling them to harness the creativity of a digital marketing agency and the insights of a business consultancy, and giving them access to a technology powerhouse to create the best experiences on the planet.”
Accenture Interactive's portfolio in Greater China already includes Fjord, a design consultancy, Altima, a digital commerce agency, Mackevision, a CGI and immersive content producer, and PacificLink, an independent set of digital agencies in Hong Kong.
“We are committed to China and our clients to continuously uplift our capabilities, especially in an area as critical as digital to help our clients transform and grow,” said Wei Zhu, chairman of Accenture Greater China, in the release. “China is the world’s largest digital consumer market. HO Communication will strengthen our ability to meet the growing digital demands of our clients, be their partner of choice in digital transformation, and help them achieve better business performance.”
While Accenture has dabbled in the Chinese mainland, with a presence in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen where its client Huawei is based, most of its services in Greater China have been centered in Hong Kong where Accenture Interactive Studios are located.
That's about to change. "We got a headstart there," Chau told Campaign Asia-Pacific, referencing the offices of those agency acquisitions. "But we're going to be very aggressive in mainland China," noting that most of his time and effort in fiscal year 2019 will be spent in the mainland and that Shanghai is being considered as a location for another Accenture Interactive studio where clients co-create and design new products with Accenture's help.
“The state of the traditional marketing and advertising industry is changing," said Lamy Zhang, CEO of HO Communication. "Clients want campaigns, but they also want advice on strategy and assistance on delivery. We see this as the future for the industry, and want to be part of creating and shaping that future, which is why I’m excited about pairing up with Accenture.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Accenture's last big acquisition in Asia-Pacific came a year ago when it acquired Australian independent creative agency The Monkeys and its design business Maud.