SHANGHAI / CANNES: Any brand that wants to win in China needs understand the power of user data to make their messaging more relevant, a top Chinese agency network believes.

"The definition of media has changed a lot. In western markets, media channels are a lot more mature," explained Richard Jiao, CEO of BlueFocus Digital, in Warc's exclusive report from Cannes: BlueFocus and Tencent: Why China's digital giants are focusing on data.

"In China, everything happens faster. People don't put limits on different channels. That's why we don't see an app as just for messaging – it can be for payments too."

His colleague Alex Phung, BlueFocus Digital's Chief Creative Officer, added: "Advertisers see media as a context in which they can find people, but in China, the context is very different. You're not only receiving the message, but you are actually using the service."

BlueFocus, one of China's biggest agency groups, shot into the top ten Warc 100 holding groups in 2016 after being unranked last year. The agency manages Tencent, the parent company of chat app behemoth WeChat and online shopping portal, and recently made some high profile agency acquisitions including We Are Social.

Big data understanding is no longer a 'nice to have' in China, but imperative to successfully growing a brand in the world's biggest consumer market.

"In China, it isn't big data. It's huge data!" said Jiao.

He also believes CRM marketing is key to brand success in China, with BlueFocus's clients focusing on this area.

"CRM marketing is very, very important for the clients," he said. "Because the environment is changing so fast, most of the brands want a person-to-person relationship," he added. "They find that this brings them much bigger benefits."

Data sourced from Warc