R/GA boss Bob Greenberg: We’re launching in Shanghai and Mumbai will be next

Bob Greenberg talks to Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes

Bob Greenberg talks to Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes

Bob Greenberg, the co-founder of high-profile digital agency R/GA, has revealed that the agency is on the brink of opening an office in Shanghai, adding to operations already up and running in Singapore and Sydney.

During a video hangout with Mumbrella, the agency’s CEO and creative director said that his company – which is known for ground-breaking campaigns for the likes of Nike in recent years – has waited to launch in China’s commercial capital to avoid the mistakes made of others in the past.

Greenberg told the New York Times in 2012 that he had “one client” who wanted R/GA to launch in Shanghai, Mumbai and also South Korea “as soon as possible.”

“We’re in the process of opening Shanghai – that will happen,” he told Mumbrella today. “We waited a long while with Shanghai. It hasn’t been easy for other agencies to get started in Shanghai, nor has it been easy to make them successful financially.”

But he said that over the years there have been learnings for foreign companies entering China that enable new entrants to not “stumble over the same mistakes”.

However, Greenberg suggested that an apparent lack of appetite for high-quality creative work was an obstacle for agencies launching in China.

“Agencies such as ours like to do good work. But the level of the work I’ve seen in China is not very high.”

“Part of that is because that [top creative work] is not what they’re looking for [in China]. We’re going to go in to change that, but we’re not sure how to get there.”

Pushing the creative needle in China would be a “game changer” for the region, he said.

Mumbai would be the next market on the list, Greenberg also revealed, his comments emerging the day after AKQA announced it was launching in India.

R/GA’s launch strategy is to start with two people, an account manager and a creative, then build from there.

Greenberg said that he did not believe in expanding by acquisition.

“Nothing is more important than culture, and we’ve made a conscious choice not to do acquisitions. That type of activity is a culture killer,” he said in the hangout, which can be watched here.


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