Growth Region China

The People’s Republic of China is the world’s second largest economy and the most populous country on Earth. With a population of 1.3 billion, a growing young middle class, increasing urbanization, increasing education and therefore increasing income, China offers some of the largest growth opportunities for Bertelsmann and its products and services. Therefore, China is one of the focus countries of Bertelsmann’s growth regions strategy.

Bertelsmann has been active in China since 1992. All its divisions have a presence there. The RTL Group subsidiary Fremantle Media licenses local versions of its successful talent shows such as “The X-Factor”, “Got Talent” and “Idol” in China. Penguin Random House primarily sells English-language books, but has now begun to successfully publish Chinese-language works as well, such as the biography of the tennis player Li Na. Gruner + Jahr publishes leading women’s, men’s, and lifestyle magazines together with its JV partner Boda/Rayli. Additionally, G+J Advertising publishes parenting titles and corporate publications as well as automotive magazines through Motor Press China. The services arm Arvato is Bertelsmann’s biggest division in China. It offers supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM) as well as digital marketing and other innovative services to its customers, which include major international corporations. 

One milestone in establishing Bertelsmann in China was the opening of a Corporate Center in Beijing in 2006. The role of the Corporate Center China is to strengthen Bertelsmann’s local presence and further develop its business portfolio. Its team handles cross-divisional topics such as public and government relations, business development, and HR initiatives.

In 2008, Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) was set up as an investment fund with focus on digital media. BAI has since made investments in more than 40 companies and fund-of-funds and has repeatedly been included in the list of the country’s top investors. China’s leading online tech magazine “36kr” named BAI as one of the most successful investment funds in the country. Today, the Bertelsmann divisions and the BAI portfolio companies benefit from each other, e.g. by exchanging their knowledge and insights into digital trends as well as innovative business models.

“BAI plays in the big league in China”, says Annabelle Yu Long, Chief Executive of the Bertelsmann Corporate Center in Beijing and Managing Partner of the Bertelsmann investment fund BAI and adds: “Bertelsmann is no longer a newcomer to China – we’re a big player with strong brands and a well-known name”.