APD cuts down Shanghai office as Ford shifts focus towards Alibaba

Independent marketing agency APD has scaled back its operations in China after its sole client Ford reduced its technology account with the agency.

The Singapore-headquartered agency, known as APD, has reduced its small office of six people in Shanghai down to just two as the American car manufacturer turns its gaze towards other vehicles for digital marketing and technology development.

Mumbrella Asia understands that APD will still operate in China, albeit remotely, but will at the same time shift its focus to the markets of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Shanghai office has also been taken off APD’s website under countries listed.

Founded in Australia in 2007, APD’s network is now said to encompass more than 300 people across Asia, plus Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. On its website, the agency lists AIA, Qantas and Toyota among its roster of clients.

After being listed on the Australian stock exchange in 2015, APD acquired Singaporean digital agency @ccomplice and made its managing director Tobias Wilson the CEO for Singapore.

Last week, Ford signed a deal with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for technology and digital marketing. The two signed a letter of intent with Ford to explore “connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobility services and digital marketing”.

Under the three-year contract, Ford will work with Alibaba’s four business units  — namely AliOS, Alibaba Cloud, Alimama and Tmall.


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