Thoughtful China interviews BBH's Arto Hampartsoumian on joint ventures and creativity

Thoughtful.jpgArto Hampartsoumian, CEO of BBH China is interviewed this week on "Thoughtful China".

The topic of discussion is how to build an ad agency in China without a JV partner and the creative output in China.


"We came with the market place knowing we're the new kids on the block," says Hampartsoumian, who has worked in North Asia for 21 years. "I'm not quite sure how the joint-venture relationships worked or didn't work, the advantages or disadvantages of being able to open doors....But you've got to ask yourself the question, if it was going so well, why did they all break up their JV partnerships?"

The lack of good creative work coming out of China is caused by "a number of factors," he adds. "The world economic situations is making clients perhaps in China a little bit more risk adverse perhaps not trying to push the envelope. Research has become a stick rather than a tool in terms of measurements. There are differences in culture, differences of opinions, difference of humor, so trying to get one size fits all [ads] across the marketplace is a difficult challenge."


True, but... said:

...many of those factors and constraints do apply to other Asian markets as well, and yet they manage to get good work out. My take on clients from China is that they tend to be slightly harder to manage (the master-slave mentality sometimes is very apparent) but they are not risk averse if convinced. China is a sleeping giant which really should be leading the way in Asian creativity, even with no dependence on foreign talent.

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