Aegis steps up China race with eLink digital buy

Aegis Group, owner of the Carat and Vizeum media buying networks, is a force to be reckoned with these days and one of its most interesting aspects is its other business, digital agency network Isobar.

In recent years the big traditional agency networks have succeeded in reining in digital independents by poaching their staff and, in some cases, buying them outright. AKQA is the only remaining digi independent with real worldwide scale.

But Isobar, which began life as a digital media agency, now offers a bit of everything digital (including creative). Now it has bought Chinese web agency eLink, whose origins are creative rather than media.

Elink’s gross assets are a tiny £3m but the price was probably much more than that. All the big marcoms companies are desperate to snap up anything that’s going in China despite the occasional crisis induced by buccaneering Chinese business practices. Publicis Groupe has suffered more than most from these.

Initially the marcoms mob flooded into China to service their Western clients there but Chinese companies are huge players in their own right now, sometimes on the global stage. Elink’s clients include three such whoppers: CMCC (China Mobile Communications Corporation), COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation) and ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China).

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.