Publicis Just Inked a Huge Data Deal With Mobile Powerhouse Tencent, Owner of WeChat

Holding company will access Chinese treasure trove

Adweek reported earlier this week that Tencent was about ready to open up the data spigot with ad agencies. Today, the Chinese mobile-marketing powerhouse made a big move on that front, inking a global deal with Publicis Groupe.

Tencent owns the hugely popular messaging app WeChat (760 million monthly users) and digital platform QQ (860 million users). Roughly 75 to 80 percent of Tencent platforms' usage is via mobile devices. 

Publicis appears to become the first holding company to gain seemingly considerable access to that treasure trove of potential marketing intelligence, and its Publicis Media, Publicis Communications and Publicis.Sapient divisions will all be involved. At the same time, Friday was the second consecutive day that Tencent revealed an agreement with a holding company. The internet giant and WPP yesterday said they would create a China Social Marketing Lab, which "will leverage Tencent's strengths in the local online space and WPP's global marketing expertise." By comparison, big-data-based marketing appears to be more central to the Publicis deal. 

Per a press release from Tencent, "Through its connected strategy, Tencent will offer Publicis Groupe access to its vast and rich online behavioral data, benefiting clients through improved programmatic offerings, cross-screen planning capabilities and conversion performance."

The Shenzhen, China-based company and Publicis will also collaborate on a startup incubation facility called Drugstore, which will focus on data, ad tech, virtual reality and augmented reality. Additionally, the two companies will co-create digital content designed to serve key clients. The two-party agreement was unveiled at Viva Technology Paris.

"China continues to lead the world in advertising growth, especially in digital and mobile, and we increasingly see new ideas and technology that leapfrog the West," said Maurice Lévy, Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO, in a statement. "Tencent is a company that embodies this strive for growth and innovation and we are honored to be their first-ever global partner and look forward to everything we will achieve together for the ultimate benefit of our clients."