Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Sep 17, 2015

Serviceplan takes majority stake in Aquarius in Greater China

SHANGHAI - Serviceplan Group has broadened its presence in China by acquiring a majority stake in digital agency Aquarius Asia, firming up a rumour of the acquisition circulating since May 2015.

Roger Strack and Marc Finsterlin
Roger Strack and Marc Finsterlin

Roger Strack, partner at Serviceplan Group, and Marc Finsterlin, founder and managing director of Aquarius Asia, are now responsible for the Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai offices of the combined entity.

They are supported by Jan-Philipp Jahn and Kathrin Guethoff in the management team. The move adds 80 employees to Serviceplan's China operation, which started in mid-2013 in Beijing with two people and now employs 200 (post-acquisition). 

Location and digital competence are the key strategic considerations for the acquisition.

When Serviceplan started in Beijing, it was aiming for BMW's account in China since it is one of the brand's global lead agencies. "Lucky we did win the China business," added Strack. "But for us it was always obvious that we have to open a second office in Shanghai as most of our clients and potential clients are based in Shanghai".

Aquarius has been positioning itself as a "digital full-service partner" for clients including Bosch, Hugo Boss, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Fendi, Lorenz Snackworld, Victorinox, Tsinghua University and Lam Soon in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

This list supplements Serviceplan's current client roster of BMW, Shell, Paulaner, WMF, Metro, Continental and local brands.

"This is an important milestone in our internationalisation strategy implemented since 2006," said Florian Haller, CEO of Germany-based Serviceplan Group. "We are planning to build at both locations in mainland China so-called 'houses of communication' with the core disciplines of creation, digital and media".

"Cultures were fitting, very good and so the deal was done fast," Strack said.

This, of course, strengthens Serviceplan's position in the market as an independent network, especially against international creative agencies, added Finsterlin. Within Asia, Serviceplan is also present in Delhi and Seoul.



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