Wednesday, December 13, 2006

56% of Scottish people and Sir Martin Sorrell

Just returned from a breakfast briefing. The guest speaker was Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP.

He highlighted some corporate issues in his 25- minute talk. These ranged from international trade to Corporate Social Responsibility and the democratizing effect of the Internet.

One of the most thought-provoking comments he made was how, in his view, Britain was now back to 1984. Not in the Orwellian sense but the numbers of those employed in public service. He explained that at present a staggering 56% of Scottish people are employed by the Government.


James Higham said...

I'll be shot down in flames, especially by my Scots blog friends but I'd imagine 56% to be conservative - there's not a hell of a lot to do up there, once you're past Stirling.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Found this article by Strumpette

< Dark Phoenix Emerges from Behind a Rusted Iron Curtain | Finally, the Big Payoff in PR >
Scandal Poses Setback for WPP in China

Posted by Amanda Chapel
Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fact: Mainland China is one of the fastest-growing markets for advertising/pr. Actually, for super conglom the WPP Group plc, the country presently accounts for the highest amount of revenue in Asia. That's about £270 million annually! According to WPP’s chief Martin Sorrell, “China is fundamental to the growth of any self-respecting multinational.” Indeed. Maybe "essential" is a better word. Revenues generated in China for WPP totally offset the recent downturn in British and U.S. advertising markets. So wonder Sir Martin can barely contain his enthusiasms.

Consequently, WPP’s strategy is to greatly expand their network there. In a recent interview, Sir Martin said that WPP could double the size of its Chinese operations within five years, adding that Asian business would account for at least 20 percent of the company by 2011. Just last week, the company bought a 49 percent stake in the agency Raynet, accelerating its push into the region's booming economy. With the acquisition of Raynet, WPP now has more than 7,500 people on the ground there.

Well, as enthusiastic as that sounds, apparently Sir Martin is cautiously optimistic and prepared for a rocky road. The WPP chief told delegates at a Confederation of British Industry conference last week that "In terms of growth there are bound to be bumps, but we will invest more heavily if there are bumps.”

But it doesn’t appear that Sir Martin planned on slippery oil slicks. The Fanchang Scandal last week sent the business into a scary skid. Bottom line, good cautionary lesson: business, both culturally and legally, is different there.

According to the Shanghai Daily, last week a manager of Fanchang Grease Factory, a cooking-oil plant in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, was arrested for using grease refined from swill, sewage and even recycled industrial oil as raw materials to produce lard. The plant produced more than 100 tons of lard since September that was subsequently sold to retailers across the country. Lab tests have confirmed that the lard contained various toxic pesticides. Authorities in Taizhou City have since shut the factory down.

The implications for WPP and others are chilling. The problem is that the Western imperialists cannot assume that Chinese law and culture is aligned with Western standards. In the case of Fanchang, the country's regulations stipulate that only pure fat of hogs can be used as raw material to produce edible lard. Apparently, the Chinese believe that eating stuff made from swill, sewage and even recycled industrial oil is hazardous to one’s health. Advertising/PR industry analysts agree that this could pose serious problems for Western Image Factories there.

Careful Uncle Marty!

CityUnslicker said...

If you add in the student population and the unemployed then the number become surreal.

I know there are teh 2 big banks in edinburgh and also the oil industry in aberdeen. Beyond that there can't be much.

Adam Smith would emigrate if he were alive today.