BBDO has shuttered its office in Malaysia and has sharply reduced staff in Hong Kong as the agency grapples with the economic effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency network's Asia chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Burge said the steps were taken as BBDO priorities where future demand will be.
“We are not going back to how things were. We are going forward to where they will be. So we have decided to realign our capabilities and resources with the expectations and demands we anticipate from our clients in the future, and thus the potential for our business in the region," he said in a statement.
"It is clear to us that China is growing in importance both as a market and as a regional hub, whilst Hong Kong and Malaysia are not. We have therefore decided to close our Malaysia office and reduce our Hong Kong presence to a small regional team, and concentrate our creative resources and work from that market into Beijing and Shanghai," Burge explained.
Burge added that BBDO has also introduced cost savings across its 12 other offices in the region, ranging from temporary salary cuts for our senior employees to a small number of layoffs.
While the coronavirus outbreak was not specifically cited as the catalyst, the moves come just days after parent company Omnicom posted declining revenue in its Q1 financial update, noting client business was expected to be "substantially" affected by the pandemic.
"As a result of the impact on our business, each of our agencies is in the process of aligning their cost structures, including severance actions and furloughs to reduce the workforce, and tailoring their services and capabilities to changes in client demand," Omnicom's financial statement read.
Earlier this month BBDO announced cuts, layoffs and furloughs across its North American operations.