Mondelez, Carat and Tencent form joint business partnership in China

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L-R: Zaim, Lau, Maher.
L-R: Zaim, Lau, Maher.

The companies plan to pioneer new views of consumer data

CHINA — Mondelez International and Carat have announced a strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings to meet the burgeoning demands of the Chinese market.

The partnership, which was recently formalized at a signing ceremony in Shanghai, aims to "deliver a comprehensive framework to encourage synergy and stronger collaboration," according to the companies.

"With this partnership, we will have access to shared datasets that we can work with to develop better data solutions," Adil Zaim, chief executive of Carat China, said when asked to explain the partnership in more concrete terms. "This is immensely valuable."

The deal will also accurately profile Chinese consumers and enable deep dives into behaviors and preferences that were previously unavailable.

Content innovation is another component of the partnership, and joint project teams are already assigned to explore and execute ideas leveraging the Tencent platform. Zaim added that the first of these collaborative projects would soon be launched in the market.

"There are expectations that have been put down about how much additional business value will be created out of this business partnership over time," Zaim said. "The key thing is that with this long-term shared objective in place, we can move quicker and be more strategic rather than tactical."

The partners will share resources including data and research, as well as conduct joint research to develop new activation models and methods to engage the Chinese consumers, according to the companies.

"This partnership will enhance Mondelez International’s capabilities in key areas of growth including e-commerce, content monetisation and data-driven consumer insights," Stephen Maher, president of Mondelez International (China), said in a statement.

SY Lau, senior executive vice president of Tencent and president of Online Media Group, said mobile Internet is a key driver of consumption in China, providing a variety of ways to engage with consumers, as well as the convenience of sales and payment channels.

Adil Zaim.

According to Zaim, China's transition to more sophisticated marketing poses new challenges.

"The market requires a new mindset and way of working," he said. "The traditional methods of engagement and reach are no longer enough."

Zaim said the partnership, which began more than six months ago, was driven by convergence between the point of engagement and transaction as well as personalization that provides consumers with immediate emotional gratification.

"Tencent, with their proprietary data and technology, is a crucial enabler in utilising these insights to drive business growth," he added. "We were thinking about how we could work better together to do more and decided to bring in the publisher into the conversation about possibilities."

Zaim said that big data challenges the partners to move beyond basic media metrics to generate actionable insights into consumer behavior.

This arrangement, which is exclusive to Mondelez, is also the first to be led by an agency partner rather than the brand, Zaim claimed. "This deal isn’t focused on volume commitments, like other agreements in the market, but rather to really get to the ground of the Chinese market and produce value from our research, insights and product innovation."

The companies have already collaborated and pioneered personalized experience in campaigns for Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Stride, allowing consumers to interact with the brands in new ways via Tencent’s WeChat app, which has over 600 million monthly active users.

R.K. Mani, managing director of international clients with Carat China, and Meg Chen, head of Amplifi China Global Media Partnerships, were key facilitators of the partnership.

Anthony Ho, marketing and media director for Mondelez International (China) said the partnership demonstrates the company's committed to a long-term, strategic collaboration.

"It is our first JBP (joint business partnership) in China, and the focus is on innovation and the sharing of information and data, working together to create deeper consumer engagement," he added.

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