Global advertising giant to set up shop in Abu Dhabi

Media Summit exclusive: Speaking ahead of the start of today's Abu Dhabi Media Summit, the founder of global advertising giant JCDecaux revealed the company is to launch in the capital.

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JCDecaux, the world's largest outdoor advertising company, said today it is launching an operation in Abu Dhabi.

The Paris-listed firm, which last year reported consolidated revenues of €2.35 billion, will be based at the twofour54 media hub.

"We are looking forward to establishing our company here in Abu Dhabi, in twofour54. That's going to be our starting point to explore the Abu Dhabi market for the next coming months," said Jean-Charles Decaux, the co-chief executive of JCDecaux.

Possible opportunities mentioned by Mr Decaux include advertising at Abu Dhabi airport and outdoor advertising sites in the city centre. While the company has had "a lot of discussions in Abu Dhabi with different landlords or partners", Mr Decaux said there are no specific contracts he could announce.


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"We can bring a lot of things to Abu Dhabi, in terms of new products, new services, in terms of expertise from our teams in the region and also more globally. So yes, airports, yes for sure the city beautification initiatives," he said. "Also the future digitalisation in the region will take on a lot of opportunities for us. And that's why we really wanted to establish our brand here in Abu Dhabi."

Mr Decaux was speaking in Abu Dhabi prior to the start of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, which runs from today until Thursday.

Wayne Borg, the deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at twofour54, said that JCDecaux is the first outdoor advertising company to launch at the centre.

"For us, we're really pleased that another global industry leader has chosen twofour54 to establish one of its lead offices in the region," said Mr Borg.

He added that JCDecaux's work will involve creative work, in line with twofour54's ethos of content creation. "It's not just about the sales and marketing, they're going to be involved in the creative process," said Mr Borg.

JCDecaux has operations in 3,542 cities around the world, and started operating in the Middle East in 2006.

The French company, which is listed on the Euronext Paris exchange, recently won a 10-year contract to sell advertising at the new Al Maktoum International Airport at the heart of the Dubai World Central development.

It holds the right to sell advertising at Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport, and all 26 airports in Saudi Arabia. The company also operates in Qatar through a joint venture with a local company.

The market research company Magna Global predicts a 7 per cent annual growth for the outdoor advertising sector until 2015.