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Havas banks on AI to spur growth in China

By HE QI in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-17 09:54

As one of the first batch of communications firms to embrace artificial intelligence, Paris-based Havas Group decided to actively apply AI to its business while continuing to invest in the Chinese market, which is considered a leading market in creative goods and services.

Yannick Bollore, global chairman and CEO of Havas Group, believes AI will bring disruptive changes to the industry.

"AI has been a topic of discussion for the last 12 months on a global scale. If you compare Al with what happened to painting after the invention of the camera, it's a little bit the same. The camera hasn't killed all the painters. It has killed the average painter, and it created Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism and Impressionism. I don't know if Al will replace people in every industry. But I know for sure that people using Al will replace people that are not using Al. That's why we are moving very importantly into Al," said Bollore.

Founded in 1835 and one of the world's largest global communications groups, Havas has more than 23,000 employees in over 100 countries.

In China, Havas serves a large variety of clients such as those engaged in fast-moving consumer goods, consumer electronics, lifestyle goods and services, finance, food and beverage as well as tourism, focusing on communications consulting and services across offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong province's Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Taiwan province.

The company has been cooperating with and supporting Chinese smartphone maker Huawei to become a global high-end brand since 2015, and during its five-year cooperation with Tsingtao Beer, Havas also created a series of impressive advertising videos. These successful partnerships have helped Havas occupy an important position in the Chinese market.

However, despite the positive development in both China and the global market, companies like Havas still need to maneuver amid changes brought by AI to the industry.

Research released by US market research company Gartner Inc recently pointed out that nearly 63 percent of marketing executives plan to invest in generative AI solutions in the next two years.

Yang Tong, vice-president of Amazon China, pointed out that generative AI will become a creative tool used by advertisers in their daily lives in 2024.

"The increasingly diversified and fragmented media environment alongside the continuous innovation and iteration of advertising technology around the world have brought unprecedented changes to the advertising and marketing industry. Understanding global marketing trends, leveraging diverse media channels to reach potential global users and telling good brand stories are crucial for enterprises to achieve global success," Yang said.

To embrace the rapidly growing technology and AI industry, Havas quickly responded and became a prime example in the industry.

Besides providing global training for tips on newly emerging technologies and making AI tools accessible to almost all employees around the world, the company implemented AI Generated Content in its business operations.

"AI, and its many derivatives, are already being deployed across the majority (over 90 percent) of our group," said Bollore.

"We also saved a lot of time. Our creative executives and directors could finish their work in 20 minutes which earlier took them two or five hours. AI is poised to reinvent the entire communications industry and pave the way for better, more accessible human expression by eliminating monotonous tasks and expanding creative potential."

"We will arm our client solutions and offerings empowered by AI, especially where creative content and visual meet, by bringing and adapting new tools," Bollore added.

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