Merkle, a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency, announced today that it has appointed Ken Hong as Chief Growth Officer for its China business. In this new role, Ken will focus on delivering organic growth and developing M&A alliances as the company looks to provide integrated and localized services while accelerating its business growth in China. Ken will also work with other agencies within Dentsu Aegis Network to deliver next generation marketing solutions to clients in China.
China is rapidly emerging as a digital powerhouse. As a leading innovator in digital transformation, China is playing an increasingly important role in shaping the digital marketing landscape. The outlook for digital marketing in China is promising. According to Statista, digital advertising expenditure in China is expected to reach around 134.3 billion US dollars in 2023, more than doubling the total spend in 2018.
“China is at the forefront as this new wave of transformation is unfolding around the world. We believe this presents huge opportunities for Merkle and for our clients as well,” said Zhengda "Z" Shen, president, Merkle Asia Pacific. “Our mission at Merkle is to help our clients build relationships with their customers by providing people-based marketing solutions. China is extremely important for us, and Ken’s appointment reinforces our commitment to the marketplace.”
“Technologies such as AI and big data are disruptive, both to us as individual consumers and to business organizations as well. To stay ahead of competition, businesses have to create personalized customer experiences. I’m very excited to join Merkle for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Hong. “Over the years, Merkle has established a great footprint in serving clients through people-based marketing solutions. Together with our partners and internal teams, I look forward to keeping this momentum and delivering unique value to our clients in the way that they market their products and services.”
Hong comes to Merkle with a diverse background in digital marketing. Before joining Merkle China, he was the GM of Corporate Strategy for Sina Group, the parent company of Weibo and Sina, helping to shape and drive strategic initiatives within the Group. Prior to that, Hong was the GM of Weibo Marketing Strategy, helping Sina develop its popular Weibo platform into a powerful marketing platform for advertisers and agencies. During this period, he worked with MNCs, large Chinese enterprises and advertising agencies on various social media marketing programs including Social Advertising, Social CRM and Social Commerce. Hong also led Weibo’s commercial operations and its annual advertising revenue increased significantly under his leadership. Earlier, he was China Managing Director for Razorfish & Digitas, two of the top digital agency networks in the world, following his role as the VP of Strategy, Analytics, and Innovation with the Razorfish Seattle office. Hong holds a BBA degree in Finance from Stetson University and a MBA degree from University of Florida. He will be based in Shanghai.
Merkle started its China operation in 2010, currently running three offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing. Over the years, Merkle has established an industry-leading digital marketing ecosystem that consists of world-class partners such as Baidu, Ali, Tencent, Huawei, Jingdong, UnionPay, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Shanghai Data Exchange Corp, Microsoft, and iFLYTEK.