WPP Fashions Asian Agency Out of Bates' Remains

15 December 2003

The Asian operations of Bates Worldwide have survived the network's takeover by WPP Group and will now become a standalone regional agency.

Bates was the flagship of holding group Cordiant Communications until the latter's acquisition by WPP in the summer [WAMN: 24-Jul-03]. Since then, its offices around the world have largely been folded into other WPP networks -- J Walter Thompson in the US and Red Cell in Europe, for example.

In Asia -- one of Bates' strongest regions -- reports suggested the agency's operations could be merged with Dentsu Young & Rubicam. But they have survived intact and are being relaunched as a specialist regional network under the name Bates Asia.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, the agency will keep Bates' 1,500 workers in twelve Asian countries, with the 141 marketing services unit and XM online division remaining part of the business. Moreover, the network has managed to retain its biggest accounts, including HSBC, Heineken and Nokia.

Jeffrey Yu, who stays on as the agency's president in the region, attributed the move to the strength of the Bates name in Asia. "When you have a strong brand, you don't change it," he declared.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff