Cas Client

Riding High in the U.S. Capital Market

Le Challenge
In 2011, several Chinese companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges were plagued with corporate governance issues and accounting scandals. This slowed Chinese listings and triggered heavy selling in shares of Chinese companies. The following year, Vipshop Holdings (NYSE: VIPS), China’s leading online discount retailer, completed its initial public offering (IPO) in March. Coverage of Vipshop’s pending IPO in the U.S. media rarely included any comments from the company’s management and was mainly dominated by a negative perception of Chinese companies. Vipshop engaged Burson-Marsteller to build up its image in the U.S. market as a transparent and trustworthy company as it sought to boost its valuation.

L'idée
To build the company’s image as a fast growing and well-run e-commerce company with the global investment community and target stakeholders, Burson-Marsteller decided to use the financial media to build a targeted and effective channel to communicate with investors. The team strategically developed a dedicated financial media campaign that increased Vipshop’s name recognition and industry awareness within the U.S. marketplace to raise the profile of Vipshop as an attractive investment opportunity.

Burson-Marsteller initiated media outreach with top-tier financial/business and influential trade reporters to secure opportunities for the company’s designated spokesperson, Vipshop’s Chief Financial Officer Donghao Yang, to conduct interviews on various storylines. Burson-Marsteller also leveraged significant financial developments, particularly the quarterly earnings to deepen media relationships and raise awareness of Vipshop’s strong sales growth. In addition, Burson-Marsteller positioned CFO Yang as a unique expert source in the e-commerce industry for commentary and perspective on retailing, technology, media and the telecom industry’s growth.

L'impact
The campaign was successful, with more than 20 top-tier business media placements, and played a significant role in changing the perceptions of the company as an unknown Chinese company in the U.S. to the one that is now viewed as a successful and fast-growing international company.  In 2012, the Vipshop Holdings Limited share price increased by 173%, with returns that topped all the overseas companies listed on the U.S stock exchange. As a result, Bloomberg named Vipshop’s returns the best to U.S. investors among all foreign companies that went public in the U.S. in 2012. CNBC also named Vipshop as the best performing IPO in 2012.