Liu (pictured) is currently on garden leave and will be departing the company at the end of the year. The agency said it has no replacement for the time being and did not comment on Liu’s next move.
GroupM relocated Liu to take up the newly created role in January. At the time, Liu told Campaign Asia-Pacific that taking the role was a "gamble", as the territory is not typically seen as a plum assignment compared with Shanghai and Beijing. Before becoming South China CEO, Liu worked for GroupM’s OOH agency Kinetic China for seven years, where his last role was president.
A 4A agency boss contacted for comment said that many companies would like to enhance their business in South China, but Shanghai and East China capture 60 per cent of the market share, Beijing gets about 30 per cent, and South China is only left with 5 to 10 per cent.
“South China and Guangzhou is a production base on the economic chain in the China market, but there are really only P&G and Amway as the main big clients," the source said. "Even big Guangdong-based beverage company JDB [加多宝] has moved its headquarters from Guangdong to Beijing, and many new brands would open their HQs in Shanghai instead.”