Publicis Acquires Chinese Marcom Firm

Just one month after expanding in Brazil, holding company Publicis Groupe has again added to its BRIC cachet, acquiring Eastwei Relations, one of China’s first independent PR and communications firms.

The 120-person shop formed in 1994 will be rebranded Eastwei MSL and report through Publicis’ MSL Group, which oversees the company’s specialty communications and events holdings. Key clients include Ikea, Sony, Porsche and Singapore Tourism, and the shop has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Though Publicis has long been aggressive in its BRIC strategy, this buy has an extra dimension owing to Eastwei founder Johan Bjorksten, one of China’s best-known foreign-born business leaders. He is also a regional best-selling author and a TV and radio personality. Bjorksten will now report to MSL Group Asia president Glenn Osaki.

In addition to his agency’s work for existing and prospective clients, the local celebrity’s presence will likely give Publicis’ Asian efforts some added visibility.