Joint startup from WPP targets China’s e-commerce sector

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UK based advertising giant WPP announced today that its unit WPP Digital’s investment division WPP Ventures has launched a new joint company, Polestar, a startup that will provide integrated e-commerce solutions in China.

WPP Digital will take a minority stake in Polestar, leaving its leadership to its principle investors – founder, Figo Yang, who will serve as CEO, and Allen Liu, COO – who bring together years of e-commerce expertise gained at Alibaba, Netease, Yahoo!, HP and UTC

Polestart will work in conjunction with WPP companies to help Chinese and international brands to establish and manage all aspects of their Chinese e-commerce operations, from marketing through to purchase, fulfilment and delivery, across multiple consumer platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao (C2C) and TMall (B2B), JD.com and the mobile messaging service WeChat.

Polestar is also developing products and services in the emerging O2O (online to offline) sector, including an e-commerce data management platform allowing clients to track, measure and optimize their e-commerce operations.

China’s e-commerce market is the world’s largest, having surpassed the US in 2013, with Chinese online shoppers forecast to spend RMB3.3 trillion in 2015 (US$540 billion), according to Bain & Co. Despite the country’s fast-growing e-commerce sector, China lacks companies that currently provide integrated e-commerce solutions.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, said, “Understanding and monetizing the e-commerce opportunity is a top priority for all brands in China, and by partnering with Polestar we can now offer our clients a one-stop solution, a first in China.”

This investment marks a further step towards WPP’s declared goal of developing its networks in fast-growth markets and sectors.

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