Gabey Goh
Nov 5, 2015

Mondelez, Carat and Tencent form joint business partnership in China

CHINA - Mondelez International and Carat have announced a strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings to meet the fast evolving and growing demands of the Chinese market.

L-R: Zaim, Lau, Maher
L-R: Zaim, Lau, Maher

The partnership, which was recently formalised at a signing ceremony in Shanghai, aims to "deliver a comprehensive framework to encourage synergy and stronger collaboration", according to the companies.

“With this partnership, we will have access to shared datasets that we can work with to develop better data solutions,” Adil Zaim, chief executive of Carat China, told Campaign Asia-Pacific when asked to explain the partnership in more concrete terms. “This is immensely valuable.”

The deal will also boost capabilities in terms of accurately profiling Chinese consumers and enable deep dives into behaviours and preferences, things that weren't previously available, he said.

Content innovation is another component of the partnership, and joint project teams are already assigned to explore and execute ideas leveraging the Tencent platform. Zaim added that the first of these collaborative projects would soon be launched in the market.

“There are expectations that have been put down about how much additional business value will be created out of this business partnership over time,” Zaim said. “The key thing is that with this long-term shared objective in place, we can move quicker and be more strategic rather than tactical.”

The partners will share resources including data and research, as well as conduct joint research to develop new activation models and methods to engage the Chinese consumers, according to the companies.

“This partnership will enhance Mondelez International’s capabilities in key areas of growth including e-commerce, content monetisation and data-driven consumer insights,” Stephen Maher, president of Mondelez International (China), said in a press statement.

SY Lau, senior executive vice president, Tencent, and president, Online Media Group, said mobile internet is a key driver of consumption in China, providing a variety of ways to engage with consumers, as well as the convenience of sales and payment channels.

Adil Zaim

Zaim told Campaign that as China transitions to a more sophisticated marketing environment, new challenges need to be overcome.

“The market requires a new mindset and way of working,” he said. “The traditional methods of engagement and reach are no longer enough.”

Zaim said that the partnership began more than six months ago driven by the acknowledgment that convergence is bringing the point of engagement and transaction ever closer, and personalisation can provide consumers with immediate moments of emotional gratification.

“Tencent, with their proprietary data and technology, is a crucial enabler in utilising these insights to drive business growth,” he added. "We were thinking about how we could work better together to do more and decided to bring in the publisher into the conversation about possibilities."

Zaim said that with big data coming to the fore, the key challenge now is how to make better use of it, moving beyond basic media metrics, to generate actionable insights into consumer behaviour.

This arrangement, which is exclusive to Mondelez, is also the first to be led by an agency partner rather than the brand, Zaim claimed.

“This deal isn’t focused on volume commitments, like other agreements in the market, but rather to really get to the ground of the Chinese market and produce value from our research, insights and product innovation,” he added.

The companies have previously collaborated and pioneered personalised experience in campaigns for Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Stride, allowing consumers to interact with the brands in new ways via Tencent’s WeChat app, which has over 600 million monthly active users.

R.K. Mani, managing director, international clients, with Carat China, and Meg Chen, head of Amplifi China Global Media Partnerships, were key facilitators of the partnership.

Anthony Ho, marketing and media director for Mondelez International (China) said that the partnership is confirmation that the company is committed to a long term, strategic collaboration.

“It is our first JBP (joint business partnership) in China, and the focus is on innovation and the sharing of information and data, working together to create deeper consumer engagement,” he added.


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