(From The Telegraph)
By Sir Martin Sorrell
WPP hits 30 next month. Rather a lot has changed since 1985 when, along with my then business partner, I invested in a manufacturer of wire shopping baskets and teapots.
If I had to reduce those changes to a single phrase, it would be “geography and technology”. Thirty years ago, China’s GDP was about $300m (£203m); today it’s more than $10 trillion. Thirty years ago Tim Berners-Lee had yet to invent the web; today Google is arguably the most valuable brand in the world.
The West is still in denial about the rising power of the so-called emerging economies (an outmoded expression, since the biggest have not only emerged, but left more mature markets trailing in their wake).
Many seem to want China to fail, which is the definition of shooting yourself in the foot, because the global economy needs it to succeed. Others point to slowing growth of “only” 7pc.
I remain an unabashed Chinese bull. It’s now our third-biggest market after the US and UK, with revenues of more than $1.5bn and some 15,000 people.
There is deep complacency and condescension in the Western view of Chinese technology firms. “All they do is copy and steal” is the fashionable thing to say.
That, by the way, is what we said about Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. My experience is that many Chinese chief executives understand digital technology better than we do. Read more