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The Trade Desk Makes a Key Hire to Accelerate Its China Strategy

By Daniel Sparks - Aug 20, 2019 at 10:01PM

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The experienced executive will help the ad-buying platform tap into one of the world's most important markets for digital advertising.

On Tuesday, The Trade Desk (TTD 4.60%) announced it has appointed Calvin Chan as general manager of its China market. The move highlights the company's recent prioritization of the market as part of its growth strategy. This spring, The Trade Desk announced key partnerships in China that would allow global marketers to buy ads programmatically in the country.

Though The Trade Desk is just getting started in China, the company is laying a solid foundation, hoping that the market will one day pay big dividends for the ad-buying platform specialist and its clients. By creating an entirely new high-level management role in China and by hiring someone with experience and connections in the market, The Trade Desk isn't wasting any time in the execution of its China strategy.

A Chinese business woman shopping on her smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

Meet Calvin Chan

Chan comes to The Trade Desk from AdMaster, a leading digital measurement and data solution provider in China. Chan was CEO at the company, overseeing its "[profit and loss], operational performance, organizational development, product [research and development], and strategic partnerships," The Trade Desk said in a press lease about the hire. Chan also previously held management positions at information, data, and management company Nielsen.

"Calvin brings considerable expertise and experience to The Trade Desk, but also a well-established network that is critical to success in China," said The Trade Desk senior vice president of North Asia Troy Yang in the release.

The Trade Desk's China strategy

The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green has likened the company's strategy in China to the long-term approach it took to building out its platform to cater to the fast-growing connected-TV market.

"If we had not invested in CTV years ago, then we would not be where we are today. The same can be said of investments in data, cross-device, and, of course, our acquisition of Adbrain, which has paid for itself many times over already," explained Green in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in February. "So we will continue to invest ahead like we're doing right now in China. We want to be there early."

About one month after this earnings call, The Trade Desk launched the ability for global advertisers to buy ads in China. This was made possible through partnerships with premium media companies in the country, including Baidu's (BIDU -1.61%) Baidu Exchange Services and its streaming service, iQIYI; Tencent's (TCEHY -3.02%) Tencent Marketing Solution, and Alibaba Group's (BABA -5.00%) online video-hosting platform, Youku.

But The Trade Desk is being deliberate and careful about its expansion in order to ensure it is providing these partners with value.

"I think we've done a great job of setting the expectations with them and we've also sort of restricted our growth if you will in China," said Green in The Trade Desk's first-quarter 2019 earnings call. "... [W]e want to start by only bringing incremental dollars to Baidu, Alibaba and, Tencent, and to make it very clear that it's incremental."

Thanks to his local experience and connections, Chan can help The Trade Desk speed things up while remaining deliberate and thoughtful. "Calvin's appointment will help accelerate our growth with major Chinese partners and advertisers," noted Yang in The Trade Desk's press release on Tuesday.

It's not surprising to see The Trade Desk making a key hire in the market. The country boasts a middle class of 400 million -- and 20% of the world's internet users are in the market. For businesses that want to expand globally, programmatic advertising in China could be a great way to tap into this massive opportunity. 

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Baidu, Tencent Holdings, and The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $60 calls on The Trade Desk and short January 2020 $125 calls on The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Trade Desk Stock Quote
The Trade Desk
$52.78 (4.60%) $2.32
Baidu, Inc. Stock Quote
Baidu, Inc.
$137.82 (-1.61%) $-2.25
Tencent Holdings Limited Stock Quote
Tencent Holdings Limited
$38.50 (-3.02%) $-1.20
Alibaba Group Holding Limited Stock Quote
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
$92.56 (-5.00%) $-4.87

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