As we launch into 2019 and prepare to celebrate Lunar New Year and the Year of the Pig in China, UMS Chief Financial Officer Richard Zhu shares an update on the agency.
2018 was another good year for UMS, coming off the back off our Pre-A round funding and our growth in New Zealand in 2017.
One of the highlights of 2018 was the launch of our office in Melbourne, Australia. This is the fourth location for UMS, which already has offices in Shanghai, Ningbo and Auckland, and signals a significant step in our global expansion plans.
The Melbourne office currently has three full time staff members as well as a freelance team, which provide social media services to a number of reputable Australian clients.
Across the business, 2018 was a year of growth and we welcomed new team members bringing our total staff to 49 people globally. We also added a wealth of new clients – including Rockit, DU’IT, Harrolds, PowerShop, Avocado NZ, Open Country Dairy, and now serve more than 40 international brands.
We continued to expand our services including forming a strategic alliance with leading Chinese brand consultancy The Silk Initiative to provide our clients with access to brand strategy, product innovation and packaging design services.
UMS continues to focus on helping international companies to connect and engage with massive Chinese consumers, however, it is also increasingly looking at how it can help Chinese companies looking to connect and engage with consumers in overseas markets, and we anticipate this will be a growing area of our business over the next few years.
Over the next 12 – 18 months we have big ambitions for our growth and performance, with plans to open two international offices in the world’s top cities. This is in keeping with our expansion plans and we hope to grow our global team to reach close to 100 full time staff over the next two to three years.
To help us achieve these goals we will continue to evolve as a business and ensure we can provide the products and services that our clients want and need. We will continue to actively look for strategic partners and suitable mergers or acquisitions to assist our growth and expansion ambitions.
We also plan to roll out a new round of funding within the next 18 months to assist with our new market growth and to ensure we continue to grow our team of dedicated Chinese social media experts.
It goes without saying that there are a number of potential factors that may impact our plans and performance over the next 12 months, including China’s slowing economic performance, the ongoing China-US trade war and the potential flow-on effects of these to markets like Australia and New Zealand where many of our major clients are located.
However, despite these potential risks, we are confident UMS is well positioned for another good year in 2019. We wish a happy and prosperous new year to all.