JOHANNESBURG: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has launched H+K Access, a service providing PR and public affairs communications support for Chinese companies operating in Africa.
The firm created the service due to the “massive” potential for growth and innovation for Chinese companies bringing their businesses to the continent, said Alexander Doll, CEO of H+K Africa.
By the end of 2011, China's cumulative foreign direct investment in Africa exceeded $14.7 billion, up 60% from 2009. China is also the continent's largest single investor and aid donor, committing to $75 billion in aid and development projects in Africa in the past decade, according to statistics provided by the firm.
“Navigating the development and evolution of [African and Chinese] relationships is a complex undertaking,” Doll said. “There are differences in customs, consumer perceptions, and customer needs that must be addressed for business ventures to be successful.”
Existing teams in the WPP Group agency's Beijing and Johannesburg offices, supported by agency staffers in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria, are directing the initiative. No roles or responsibilities will change with the launch of the service; it is formalizing the work of H+K staffers, said Rebecca Ballard, VP at H+K.
“As the first communications company to open a dedicated Africa-China service, we hope to strengthen our position as Africa's premier strategic communications agency,” Doll added.
The firm is also looking to expand its services in the Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey markets, which have been predicted as the next economic giants.