Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) China has "strategically aligned" Merkle with &c to create a "fully integrated offering across digital and performance media, data, analytics, CRM, marketing technology, and loyalty programs". The alignment is not considered a merger, clarified DAN.
Merkle China and &c will be "integrated" as equal partners, and managed by current leaders retaining their respective reporting lines. The combined agency will be named Merkle &c, with a total employee number of 800 housed in offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou.
U.S.-headquartered Merkle expanded into China in September 2010 for business opportunities in customer relationship marketing initially, and then growing to add CRM consulting, data management, marketing technology and loyalty programs.
Launched in 2008 by Dentsu Inc, &c’s services include interactive marketing strategy, creative and design, media planning and buying, SEM, video marketing, ePR and social media, mobile, and e-commerce.
Frank Zhang, general manager of Merkle China, noted that the aligned entities will join forces in R&D and business development when facing clients. Commenting on the significance of the move, DAN China CEO Phil Teeman said in a press release that the network aims to become a "100% digital economy business" by 2020.