Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2009 (Revised September 2010)

JWT China: Advertising for the New Chinese Consumer

by Elisabeth Koll

Abstract

This case analyzes the business strategy and expansion of JWT China from the late 1990s to 2008. As part of the world's fourth largest marketing communications network, JWT China grew into one of the largest integrated communications companies in China operating from offices in various parts of the country. The case provides students with a comprehensive history of and insights into China's advertising industry and the challenges for foreign and domestic firms operating within a highly regulated media environment controlled by the Chinese government. At the same time, this case offers insights into the structure of the highly fragmented Chinese consumers market, exploring the socio-economic disparities in income and media access as well as culturally determined consumer behavior across different regions and urban and rural areas. The case lets students explore how these trends might impact JWT's advertising and marketing strategies in the future and how to evaluate JWT's business expansion in China dealing with local and foreign competition.

Keywords: Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Business and Government Relations; Business Strategy; Expansion; Advertising Industry; China;

Citation:

Koll, Elisabeth. "JWT China: Advertising for the New Chinese Consumer." Harvard Business School Case 809-079, February 2009. (Revised September 2010.)