The Havas Group and Guangdong Integrated Marketing Communication (广东省广告集团股份有限公司, known as GIMC) have formed a joint venture, in which Havas holds a 51 percent stake.
Following that, both Havas and GIMC will continue to operate independently of the resulting JV, which will be named as Havas GIMC Advertising, a new integrated media and creative agency headquartered in Shanghai.
One of China's largest local marcomm groups, GIMC has 110 member companies. It has worked with brands such as China Mobile, Dongfeng Nissan and China Telecom and claims it has retained 85 percent of its clients for more than five years.
Yannick Bolloré, CEO of Havas Group, said the move represents a major step of the group's expansion in China. "The Chinese market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and is now second in terms of ad spending, which offers an outstanding opportunity for brands," he said in a statement.
Chen Tianlong (陈钿隆), chairman of GIMC, said: "This joint venture, will be, on the back of Havas' global network, the first China-based agency with a network dedicated to supporting the international expansion of Chinese companies and bring more Chinese brands globally."
This joint venture will allow Havas clients to tap into "the best existing full-service offering in China" and take advantage of GIMC's "massive buying clout and scale", while giving GIMC clients who have designs on international markets access to the global Havas network.
This article has been updated. Campaign Asia-Pacific initially erred by characterising the deal as an outright acquisition of GIMC by Havas.