By Marylyn Donahue, Pharm Exec.
Publicis Healthcare continues its expansion into Asia with this week’s announcement of its acquisition of U-Link Business Solutions (UBS), one of China’s leading agencies specializing in healthcare communications.
As a part of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, the agency will be renamed UBS Saatchi & Saatchi Health.
“The Chinese healthcare market is one of the fastest growing in the world” said Nick Colucci, CEO and President of PHCG: “Adding UBS to our portfolio brings the Saatchi & Saatchi Health flagship brand to China, and will make PHCG one of the largest healthcare communications groups in the region.”The acquisition is in line with Publicis Group’s overall strategy to increase its presence in fast growing markets, with China at its core and where Publicis Groupe has set an objective to double its size.
A feather in Publicis’ cap, UBS is one if not the most highly regarded heathcare agency in China. Founded in 1997, it currently employs approximately 170 people at its Shanghai headquarters and Beijing office. Staffed with a multidisciplinary team and in-depth market intelligence, UBS offers PR, events management, medical association relationships and brand management. Clients include Abbott, GenSci Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche, Wyeth and Xian-Janssen.
PHCG’s speedy expansion into Asia also includes the recent acquisitions of Beijing Dreams Advertising and Beijing Dreams Zhiyang Communication (May 2011) and the India-based Watermelon agency (March 2011).
The healthcare Group counts now 220 employees in Greater China and is present through its agencies Publicis Life Brands Dreams, Publicis Life Brands China, and the-now UBS Saatchi & Saatchi Health.
Today’s announcement is also the latest in a series of China agency additions for Publicis Groupe that includes Wangfan and Gomye (November 2011), Genedigi (June 2011), Dreams (May 2011), Interactive Communications Ltd (February 2011) and Eastwei Relations (November 2010).
“Addressing the large and fast growing healthcare market in China is essential to our global clients and therefore one of our strategic priorities,” said Jean-Yves Naouri, Publicis Groupe COO and Chairman of China Publicis Groupe. “ I am particularly pleased with the acquisition of UBS, an outstanding agency that will further enhance PHCG’s offering in China and in Asia. We maintain our course and we’re on-target to achieve our objectives in China.”