AdSage leverages US presence to serve clients

Updated: 2013-05-10 11:18

By Deng Yu in Bellevue, Washington (China Daily)

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AdSage leverages US presence to serve clients

Tang Zhaohui's adSage wants to help American companies reach Chinese consumers through Internet marketing. Deng Yu / China Daily

AdSage, China's biggest digital advertising firm, is expanding rapidly in the US market to serve the increasing ranks of American companies eager to market products and services to Chinese consumers online.

Tang Zhaohui, CEO of adSage, said in the company's office in Bellevue, Washington, that increased buying power among the Chinese public makes the country an even better target for US brands.

Internet users in China totaled 564 million at the end of last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The country also boasts 1.11 billion mobile-phone users.

AdSage provides a range of services to clients through its US operation.

The firm is the exclusive North American partner of Baidu Inc, which operates China's leading search engine. Its mobile ad service MobiSage reaches 100 million unique users a month. Partnerships with popular Chinese social-media websites Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo enable adSage to help US companies advertise and market in China.

"We see American clients coming from various industries," Tang said. "They are financial-service providers, educational agencies, luxury brands, resorts and hotels trying to capture the booming Chinese outbound tourism market, IT companies seeking emerging markets such as IT security software."

Clients of adSage include Microsoft Corp, Inc, MGM Resorts International, online jewelry retailer Blue Nile Inc and security-software maker McAfee Inc.

Tang calls himself "a graduate of Microsoft" and says his company was born in Bellevue and grew up in Beijing. For more than 10 years he worked at Microsoft's headquarters in nearby Redmond, Washington, first as a lead program manager in the SQL server unit and then as a group program manager in the software giant's adCenter Labs.

In 2007, he helped found adSage in Beijing by raising $20 million in venture capital from SIG Asia and Meridian Capital. He became CEO two years later.

Because of his long local experience, Tang is very familiar with the Seattle-Bellevue region. Choosing the city of 125,000 as the base from which to expand into the US in 2012 was easy, he said.

"As a company focused on innovation and execution, we want to hire people with extraordinary talents. With big companies such as Microsoft and Amazon here, we are surrounded by quality R&D talent. Besides, this region has an ecosystem for development and the fastest nonstop flight connecting to China," Tang said.

AdSage employs 500 people in the US and China, more than 200 of whom are software engineers.

"We are going to recruit more to strengthen our R&D team in Bellevue, and that will provide more valuable services for our American clients," the CEO said.

AdSage also plans to open offices in California and New York over the next 18 months.

Tang believes adSage's fast expansion are a product of the growing business links between the US and China. He and the firm have been active in the City of Bellevue's efforts to attract Chinese investment using social media platforms.

"The CEO and adSage are the perfect example of a successful China-US partnership," said Thomas Boydell, the city's economic development manager. "We hope to create many more model partnerships. Our two countries will grow closer in both friendship and business as a result."

(China Daily 05/10/2013 page10)