GfK Group has acquired a majority stake in two custom MR businesses, Consumer Research China (66%) and Indian company Mode (51%). Total turnover for the two is expected to be around Euros 4.7m in 2006.
Subject to approval from the Indian authorities, the GfK Group will acquire 51% of Mode Group, which was established in 1981. The newly named GfK Mode will have branches in 13 Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore and Chennai, and an office in Dhaka, Bangladesh through a subsidiary company. GfK will increase its holding further by 2010.
Also subject to approval from the authorities, GfK will acquire a 66% stake in Custom Research China (CRC), with plans to increase this in stages to 100% by 2014. The firm will now be known as GfK Custom Research Beijing. CRC products include special Car Clinic test instruments. Co-founder Chris Zhang will continue to manage the firm as General Manager.
GfK’s Retail and Technology business operates in 15 countries and its HealthCare division in four countries in Asia and the Pacific region, but until now the group has been working with associated institutes. The firm says the two new majority shareholdings represent ‘a decisive strategic step in accelerating the globalization of the Custom Research division.’ Says Petra Heinlein, Management Board member responsible for the Custom Research division, ‘In recent years, we have been concentrating our globalization efforts on the USA and Latin America, but now, the focus is on our Asian network. With the new presence in China and India, we have established ourselves in the two most densely populated and dynamic economies in the region.’
Mode has 127 employees and is expected to achieve results totalling Euros 2.7m in 2006. A statement from joint MDs Debi Basu and Shiloo Chattopadhyay says: ‘We are delighted that we will soon be a part of the international GfK network. Our service package fits ideally into the services already offered by GfK in the field of Custom Research.’
Custom Research China (CRC) has 90 employees working in its three branches in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and is expected to achieve sales totaling around Euros 2m in 2006. Zhang comments: ‘Being part of the GfK network is a big deal. In particular, we will benefit from the sophisticated tools which GfK has developed for custom research. They are a decisive resource which we can use to expand our business in what has meanwhile become one of China’s most competitive markets.’
GfK Custom Research also has a subsidiary in Manila in the Philippines, with 16 staff, based around NOP Philippines which was established in 1997 and functions as a headquarters for some regional initiatives.
The Group [including the former NOP World] achieved sales of Euros 937.3m euros for financial year 2005 in accordance with IFRS. In addition to 13 German subsidiaries, the company has over 130 companies located in more than 70 countries. Of a current total of more than 7,600 employees, 80% are based outside Germany. The Group’s web HQ is at www.gfk.com