BEIJING: Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (gsk) is to set up
its first in-house PR department in China and has tasked Edelman with
the job and a corporate PR brief.
Edelman pitched against two other agencies for a remit that includes
supporting the Anglo-American firm in establishing a PR department and
its first attempts to build a corporate profile in China.
Edelman Beijing general manager Alistair Nicholas and senior account
manager Li Lingping will lead the account, working with gsk China
corporate affairs manager Betsy Li.
'There is a very strong government relations department at gsk, but they
don't have even the most basic functions for PR - not even a press kit
or anyone who actually runs PR,' said Nicholas.
He said the first task is to appoint a head of the PR department before
deciding its eventual structure.
gsk is the £18bn company that resulted from the merger of Glaxo
Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham last year.
The company is working on localising its corporate identity in China
after launching its new brand globally this year. Edelman will support
the launch of the identity.
'The work will involve messages in the marketplace, dictating how the
public identifies both rationally and emotionally with the brand,' said
gsk has five joint ventures and an investment company, and spent nearly
£7m on collaborative research and development programmes in China
In the US, gsk recently announced it was cutting the price of its drugs
for elderly Americans with low incomes.
The firm's 'Orange Card' programme allows poorer pensioners to claim 30
per cent off prescription medicines.
It is part of gsk's attempts to reposition its ethical stance after,
this week, allowing a South African company to make cheap copies of its