French performance advertising company Criteo has terminated its services in China, effective 25 May 2017, an email to its Chinese clients revealed. The decision raised discussions about the difficulties that foreign ad companies may have to face when introducing digital solutions to the highly complex and competitive market.
Criteo announced the decision through email on 16 May 2017. In the letter, the firm explained that it would no longer service local businesses in China due to the massive differences it had witnessed when operating China's domestic and export businesses.
"Export businesses continue to grow, while local businesses see slower growth due to a complex market," it explained. "We decided to restructure our team and focus on export businesses in China, and will no longer provide service to local businesses."
Criteo, with a reputation in the marketplace as a pioneer in re-marketing to introduce the cookie-based technology, opened its office in Beijing in 2014. The firm targeted "pursuing the vast opportunities that the market presents for advertisers wishing to engage the more than 347 million Internet users in China and convert their customers online across multiple devices, including mobile".
By early 2017, the company had over 2,200 employees in 30 offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, serving 13,000 advertisers worldwide and with direct relationships with 17,500 publishers. The company has consistently beat earnings, yet its stock fell from USD 55.25 to USD46.54 this month.