Weber Shandwick to do China PR for European broker

Cyprus-based online broker easy-forex asks Weber Shandwick to raise its profile in China

Weber Shandwick has been named the exclusive PR agency in China for easy-forex, an online currency, commodities and derivatives broker. The agency won the contract in a competitive bid earlier this year after the Cyprus-based financial trading firm expanded its mainland China operations. ""We were impressed by Weber Shandwick's strong international and China financial media relationships, "said easy-forex CEO, Michael Konnaris.
easy-forex claims its platform is simple to use. With a single account, traders can buy and sell currencies, trade indices (portfolio of shares that are bought or sold as a package) and commodities on its desktop or mobile platforms. "To China's online trading community, the key issues are transparency, ease of use and innovative trading platforms that can be used on mobile devices - easy-forex offers all of these," claims Konnaris.

Weber Shandwick will dispense PR advice and help the firm raise its brand profile in China. "There is great demand in China not only for detailed currency analysis but broader macroeconomic analysis, " said Darren Burns, managing director, Weber Shandwick China.
Weber Shandwick told PR Week that easy-forex had based a team of "world-class" Chinese analysts in Cyprus to track markets, crunch numbers and draft financial reports in Mandarin. "We help to make sure their owned content gets seen by China's financial and foreign exchange (forex) media and other stakeholders," said Burns.

Online trading activity in China is on the rise in step with the spread of internet and mobile connectivity and gradual liberalisation of the financial sector. According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) the turnover in the RMB foreign exchange market in 2012 totaled US$9.18 trillion (with a daily average of US$37.8 billion), 6.2% higher than 2011. Growth in commodity derivatives follows China's emergence as a world leader in the supply and consumption of commodities. Beijing has made it easier for online trading platforms such as easy-forex to do business in China. In 2010 it allowed the direct trading of the Yuan (RMB) against the Australian and Canadian Dollars.  The government last year announced steps toward financial reform, which includes the launch of a private banking pilot programme and encouraging "healthy growth" of online banking.

Hong Kong-based brokers were the first to enter the market with offices in Shanghai but were soon followed by foreign brokers. Trading platforms now use algorithms, tools and workflows based around a trader's individual preferences to offer buy and sell recommendations. These so-called "aggregation" services have gained a significant foothold in Asia where interest in currency trading particularly, is growing rapidly. "Over the last two to three years, we have seen a significant number of firms set up in the region," Alex Knight, global head for Citi's foreign exchange margin trading business told e-Forex magazine in April. But the trade also suffers from an image problem. It is infested with conmen and unscrupulous brokers. Winning the trust of the investor community has therefore become a priority for brokers and an opportunity for the PR industry.

"The reality is, the bigger names that are thriving in this space are those demonstrating transparency and a commitment to customer service - which easy-forex is actually quite well known for," said David Liu, chairman, Weber Shandwick China.

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