Sir Martin Sorrell hopes to turn young Chinese communists into footsoldiers for WPP Group clients.

The agency group boss is eyeing a partnership with the Communist Youth League of China, whose membership (an estimated 65 million) he believes could be used to reach the nation's consumers.

"It's about building a network in a big geographical area to try and distribute products, ideas and marketing approaches," Sorrell revealed to the Financial Times.

WPP agencies have used similar tactics elsewhere. In India, Ogilvy & Mather set up haircare clinics for women in 6,000 villages – the ultimate goal being to sell them shampoo.

However, some believe Beijing is unlikely to allow Sorrell to make a marketing machine out of a highly political group that grooms China's future leaders. According to its manifesto, the League's purpose is "firmly and unswervingly implementing the Party's basic line … in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff