CHENGDU, CHINA: Ruder Finn has signed an agreement with S&W Public Relations to expand its presence into the central and western provinces of China.
With the strategic partnership, Ruder Finn will have access to S&W's knowledge, insights, and resources in 21 cities throughout western China.
S&W is especially active in Chongqing City and the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan. Founded in 1999, its clients are concentrated in 13 industries including public affairs, culture, tourism, real estate, IT, luxury, media, entertainment, and consumer packaged goods.
While competing large PR firms have long-established operations in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, they are still unable to command the prices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou due to client and consumer mindsets, said Elan Shou, MD and SVP of Ruder Finn China.
“Instead of opening a new branch in Sichuan, we decided to initiate this partnership for the reason of network building, as S&W is the biggest and one of the most experienced agencies within western China,” Shou said.
Both agencies will combine their specialized expertise for the benefit of clients of both parties, as well as sharing referrals, profits, and internal business modules with each other.
Ruder Finn and S&W first worked together in 2001 when Glenfiddich, a Ruder Finn client, extended its projects into Sichuan. The Scotch whiskey brand was interested in reaching out to a small circle of local key opinion leaders via word of mouth. S&W's local network helped meet those needs, with a team led by Ruder Finn.
The most recent collaboration between Ruder Finn and S&W was Roche's entry into the western region when the Switzerland-based company opened its regional headquarters in December 2012, targeting China's inland cities to boost sales.
China's central and western provinces have become one of the fastest-growing areas since the implementation of the government's “China Go West” strategy in 2000. The region has made great strides by attracting investment from multinationals such as IBM, SAP, and Siemens.
This story originally appeared on the website of Campaign Asia-Pacific.