adSage: Helping US Businesses Reach Chinese Customers
“adSage is a bridge between business in the USA and China, combining an understanding of culture with state-of-the-art technology.”
~Dr. ZhaoHui (Gordon) Tang, President and CEO, adSage
In 2011, adSage established North American headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. Founded in 2007, the company is a leading technologies and services company in online advertising. The company is primarily based in Beijing but employs 500 professionals across multiple locations in the US and China, among them over 200 software engineers.
The company’s principal business is helping US businesses reach Chinese customers.
adSage is a full-service digital advertising agency and technology company serving US companies who seek customers in China. It works with top global brands to create, launch, and optimize their online advertising campaigns.
adSage services include SEM, SEO, Mobile, Social Media and Display advertising. Additionally the company offers advertising related products such as search bid automation (Google, Bing and Baidu), mobile ad network and social media advertising tools (Facebook and Weibo). Various software, services, and tools allow businesses to better manage advertising campaigns.
adSage is the largest SEM firm in China, managing campaigns for over 200 premier advertisers on Baidu and Google, including L’Oreal, Hilton, Forex, Dangdang and PingAn Insurance. adSage is the exclusive North America reseller for Baidu, which commands more than 80% online search market share in China. mobiSage, adSage’s mobile ad network, is the most influential ad network in China, covering 100 million unique users per month. adSage also operates the most influential mobile ad network in China – mobiSage.
Dr. ZhaoHui Tang is the President and CEO. (Read a personal interview with him in the VIP/Featured Person section of this website). Dr. Tang is a founder and owner of adSage. He helped the company raise $20 million in venture capital from SIG Asia and Meridian Capital. Formerly with Microsoft, Dr. Tang formally joined adSage as CEO in 2009.
Q: What does your company do as its principal business?
A: Since Baidu dominates search queries in China, US companies have to familiarize themselves with very different advertising strategies and rules than are standard in western markets. We create a holistic search marketing strategy for China, including Baidu.
Q: How is the market changing?
A: There are 500 million search users and growing. Instant messaging is most popular. In China, it is called QQ. You get faster replies than with email. For business this is better, but it is also more familiar with the younger generation for everyday purposes and the increasingly dependent mobile internet user.
Of the 50 billion RMB in the 2012 on line ad market in China, 12.6% portals, 36.7% Search Engine Marketing, and Mobile is 2% but growing very fast. Baidu is so dominant that even Bing (Microsoft) is considered a niche player.
China is not like other countries but evolving: IT products ranks 5th in top 10. Retail is 9. Finance is 7. By comparison, US market revenue for Google, finance and insurance holds the top rank with 4 billion US dollars, while 2.8 billion is retailers, and 2.4 billion is travel and tourism; while business and industrial is 1.6 billion, of which one-third is custom business.
Q: What is adSage’s special expertise?
A: adSage excels at helping US companies find their most cost efficient path to advertising success. The company has received numerous awards in its short lifetime.
A few of these include:
- Awarded to adSage for Search (AFS) for 2012 best Chinese software of the year
- Awarded for total managed search budget
- Awarded for being the largest agency and the most reliable business partner of Baidu
- Awarded for most Innovative mobile technology
- Chosen as Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD)
Q: What is a key principle of the company’s culture or its success strategy?
A: adSage is a bridge between business in the USA and China, combining an understanding of culture with state of the art technology. All our services and products are managed and developed by leading experts, which permits us to continuously innovate and improve them. Furthermore, we take the best of both cultural values.
Q: Do you see any obstacles to doing business in China?
A: The cultural difference between the West and East are certainly a major challenge for any company that wants to do business in China. A strong partner like adSage can help companies, willing to open themselves for new opportunities, to gain a sure foothold and assure their long lasting success in China.
It is essential to also have excellent off line services and integrate them into what solutions you provide to your customers.
There is always a threat of a business model or intellectual property being copied by someone else. Therefore, adSage constantly innovates to stay ahead of the competition.
Return on Investment (ROI) is emphasized in everything. That is the final piece of the strategy that results in internationally successful.
Q: What opportunities do you see for your business in China or other parts of Asia?
A: More US advertisers are interested to export services, whether education, financial services, tourism, or service related products like software. Travel and tourism is the biggest opportunity. All need ads that are purchased efficiently, with measureable results, in banners, SEM, mobile, plus translation. However, we are not handling transactions.
Q: What will help further these opportunities?
A: adSage is in a unique position to provide performance advertising solutions to US advertisers, helping them to export their products and services to Chinese consumers, through search, social, mobile and display. China with its unique cultural situation and its striving, constantly growing economy has a great desire for progress and western products. Linking East and West is a logical path to satisfy the needs of Chinese consumers. At the same time, this helps Western companies to be heard and deliver messages and products in China, linking two unique countries.
The company constantly improves its products and services to achieve ever higher performance for our clients in every field. The company added MobiSage for the mobile market apps based advertising in 2010. In 2012, adSage created WeiboSage, a product and services category for the social media industry.
Q: Where will it lead?
A: More and more, advertising is moving away from banners to things that have a more specific ROI measurement. For example, when combining search with other ads, adSage can develop performance based advertising like number of hotel rooms booked at a specified room rate.