China's BlueFocus Enters US With Fuseproject Deal
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China's BlueFocus Enters US With Fuseproject Deal

China communications group BlueFocus has struck its first US deal, acquiring 75% of Fuseproject, the design firm owned by Yves Béhar.

Arun Sudhaman

SAN FRANCISCO—China communications group BlueFocus has struck its first US deal, acquiring 75% of Fuseproject, the design firm owned by Yves Béhar.

The deal confirms BlueFocus' global ambitions, after it bought UK-based social media agency We Are Social at the end of last year, and acquired a minority stake in Huntsworth Group.

BlueFocus CEO Oscar Zhao has publicly said that he wants to grow his group tenfold by 2022, a goal that is likely to involve plenty of international acquisition. In 2013, BlueFocus revenues grew 60% to $560m.

In Fuseproject, it acquires an industrial design firm that was founded by Béhar in 1999 and now employs 75 staff in San Francisco and New York. The agency is well known for its work on Jawbone's range of devices, as well as relationships with companies such as Nike, Puma, GE, Samsung and Google, and non-profit projects like One Laptop Per Child.

Béhar said that a shared belief in storytelling made BlueFocus the ideal partner for his agency, and pointed to new practices that will be built in business design and non-profit consulting.

“We are excited about the partnership, which will help us, with our team of 75 employees, to continue to build a place where the best ideas can be turned into great design and successful companies," said Béhar. "It will be business as usual, as we keep serving our clients and partners as we always have, but on a bigger scale with the benefits of the partnership which our new shareholder brings.”

Zhao, meanwhile, noted that "successful products start with good design."

"We see Fuseproject as a pioneer in venture-backed design, creating a complete design, branding and consumer experience," said Zhao. "It will boost the marketing communication capability of Bluefocus going forward for new companies and Fortune 500s alike."

Until now, BlueFocus has operated a small presence in the US, as the BlueFocus Communication Group of America.

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