WPP CEO Martin Sorrell: Chinese companies aggressive on world stage

Most valuable Chinese brands in Brandz Top 10 are...
Most valuable Chinese brands in Brandz Top 10 are...

The flurry of deals by Chinese companies made in recent weeks could be the start of a broader push by firms in the mainland to fast track their entry overseas, said Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP.

Sorrell's comments come close on the heels of a slew of high-profile moves by Chinese companies to snag assets abroad, including Chinese insurer Anbang, which is set to acquire hotel operator Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for about $13.2 billion, the firm's biggest push yet into the global real estate market.

"(We are now seeing) quite strong entrepreneurially-driven, individually-driven companies which are being very aggressive on the world stage as state-owned enterprises come under the microscope, maybe not moving as quickly as the government wants them to," Sorrell told CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday.

A Chinese security guard walks past the front desk at a branch of Anbang Insurance in Shanghai last December.
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Chinese companies with high-profile backers have been snapping up assets overseas recently.

In January, Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group bought U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion. In December, while e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, whose executive chairman is Jack Ma, said it would buy publisher SCMP Group's media assets, including the South China Morning Post newspaper.

These brands are making large investments globally, often in cash at strong valuations, he added.

Domestic Chinese companies are also expanding into the hinterland in China itself, as they prove to be more competitive against foreign multinationals, many of which are hindered by the strength of the U.S. dollar, added Sorrell.

Sorrell's comments come on the back of WPP's sixth top 100 Chinese brands report which sees technology giant Tencent Holdings topping the list. Their brand values are worth half a trillion dollars collectively—up 13 percent from a year ago, according to WPP's reports.

The top 10 list this year features a mix of technology and financial companies including China Mobile, Alibaba Group, ICBC and Ping An Insurance.

Of the top 100 companies, 51 of them are market-driven or entrepreneurial brands, noted Sorrell. According to a separate WPP survey, 14 of the top 100 brands globally are Chinese.

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