Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Mediabrands' Ventures Unit Evolves in China and U.S.

  |  October 13, 2010   |  Comments   |  

Rebrands investment arm as Velocitor and courts startups in China.

Hong Kong-- Mediabrands has rebranded its strategic partnership and investment arm from Greenhaus to Velociter and hired Tim Hanlon as CEO and managing director. His duties are to collaborate with innovative “game changers” in media and marketing to provide proprietary agency insights and solutions to clients.

In January, IPG-owned Mediabrands launched its Mediabrands Ventures unit in the U.S. and rolled it out in China six months later, with ambitions to rapidly expand in the country.

“China is behind and advanced at the same time," said Jimmy Poon, CEO of Mediabrands Ventures in China.

Based in Shanghai, Poon oversees the China divisions of Velociter and the Emerging Media Lab. His job at Emerging Media Lab is to identify, evaluate and approach new content owners and publishers. In some cases, Mediabrands will propose investing time and money to help them develop and pitch ad products.

At Velociter, he will do the same for homegrown tech startups, in which IPG will co-invest alongside venture capitals, incubators and angels.

Among Mediabrands Ventures' investment targets are Chinese companies that produce tools to drive word of mouth on social networking portals and micro-blogging sites. It will also court niche ad networks and firms that specialize in data-driven ad targeting. Poon says China's digital media landscape lacks the audience transparency that U.S. marketers enjoy, and advertisers often assemble media plans based on a site's visibility and reputation rather than data from audited measurement firms. This leads them to exclude smaller quality media properties.

The holding group also wants to tap into the social gaming scene and is in talks with startups to integrate brands in the form of advertising subsidized games or in-game placements. An example of a likely partner is Beijing-based Happy Latte. The firm has created an app call High Noon, a multi-player game that turns an iPhone into a gun to shoot opponents. The app has been downloaded more than a million times and is a top-100 game in more than 50 countries including the U.S., Canada, France and Japan.

The key challenge for Mediabrands Ventures in China, according to Poon, is to convince brand marketers to test new and emerging platforms. With the media landscape constantly changing, he said brands may end up standing still if they wait for opportunities to be clearly laid out before taking any action.

Poon believes innovation in the region has been driven by very demanding advertisers, particularly in parts of the ecosystem that do not deliver clear value. He noted media agencies in China are often paid commissions under 10 percent and in some cases 5 percent.

He also observed regional media and technology companies tend to adopt innovations and platforms from the U.S. He cites social networking sites Renren and Kaixin001, which are similar to Facebook, and YouTube clones Youku and Tudou. But he says these companies don’t copy blindly from the West as they reinvent and adapt from the implementation to engagement process for the local audience.


Subscribe to ClickZ Asia to receive your weekly dose of the region's latest trends, tips, and insights straight to your inbox.

pro-rank-tracker-logoPro Rank Tracker is a cutting-edge ranking tracking tool for keeping you up-to-date with all the latest changes in the rankings of your websites and videos.


Adaline Lau

Adaline Lau, ClickZ Asia editor, oversees day-to-day editorial operations covering digital marketing from search to social media, mobile to analytics in the region. Before ClickZ, she was senior reporter at Marketing Magazine and has worked as a journalist for The Singapore Marketer and Asia Pacific Broadcasting. Connect with her @adalinelau or Google+.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

US Consumer Device Preference Report

US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.




  • SEO Specialist
    SEO Specialist (Marcel Digital) - ChicagoSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist   Marcel Digital is an award winning digital marketing...
  • SEO / SEM Manager
    SEO / SEM Manager (CustomInk) - FairfaxAre you a friendly, motivated, and inquisitive individual? Are you a positive, out-going leader? Are you...
  • SEO Analyst
    SEO Analyst (XO Group) - New YorkSEO Analyst @ XO Group About this Job, You and Our Team: The XO Group SEO Team is looking for you, a passionate...