Yuen (pictured), based in Hong Kong took the position on 1 January and joins 30 existing partners housed in 24 offices worldwide. Reg Moses, who formerly handled Greater China as part of his larger APAC remit, will continue to serve his existing clients from his new location in Sydney while gradually moving into retirement.
The company administers formal surveys to both sides of the client-agency divide, using a data-driven approach to identify problems and solutions. Formed 13 years ago, Aprais has performed more than 11,400 evaluations globally, including more than 3,700 in Asia-Pacific and more than 220 in Greater China. The firm works with clients such as Nestlé, Citibank, BAT and Jaguar Land Rover.
Kim Walker, founder and chairman of Aprais, who was previously Asia-Pacific CEO of M&C Saatchi and Asia-Pacific COO of Aegis Media, founded the company in Japan with Tony Geary. The idea came out of frustration; the usual model for measuring client-agency relationships was a one-sided affair based only on the client's view.
The Aprais concept is to pool data to create a database that allows external benchmarks for the industry, giving clients and agencies an accurate picture of what good and poor performance actually means. To avoid conflict of interest, Walker said, Aprais does not involve itself in pitches, but rather acts as an independent third-party, like a "marriage counsellor", trying to improve relations between clients and agencies.
"We need someone who clients and agencies would look up to and respect," Walker told Campaign Asia-Pacific from Singapore. "Yuen is a perfect choice with his maturity and reputation.”
Walker said the opportunity in China is vast. “There is often a less equal ‘master and servant’ relationship between domestic clients and agencies, but given our track record with multinational companies, Chinese companies can see the value if they treat agencies equally, as strategic partners," he said.
Jeremy Caplin, the firm's London-based worldwide CEO, praised Yuen's calibre and local market understanding, adding that more global clients expect the company to serve their needs in all their key markets.
The company plans to announce a new leader for India in the coming weeks, Walker said.