Chinese digital performance agency Darwin Marketing Limited has been snapped up by Dentsu Aegis Network with a view to packaging it into iProspect China.

A merger with the Dentsu-owned agency sees iProspect doubling its headcount in the nation – one of the biggest global e-commerce markets – as 80 performance marketing pros from Darwin add to a team of around the same size at the acquiring firm.

Branding itself simply as “a data company that does marketing”, the current Darwin service spans across paid search, SEO, paid social as well as a tailored offering for user experience and mobile efforts.

Headquartered in Boston, the US-based iProspect boasts presence in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific and EMEA, belonging to the same Denstu family as fellow agencies Vizeum and mcgarrybowen.

Pinpointing regions

Darwin was founded in 2006 by TR Harrington, who intends to remain with the business as a consultant in the aftermath of the Dentsu purchase. 

Another after-effect of the deal sees Darwin’s VP of operations, Kenneth Cheung, head over to iProspect China’s management team in an unannounced capacity.

Nick Waters, CEO Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, said: “Acquiring Darwin continues our strategy of investing in faster growing segments and regions. 

“IProspect is the world’s leading performance media agency and this integration will provide greater scale in China enabling it to more rapidly capture the opportunities available.”

Stats from eMarketer show e-commerce sales in China reaching $672 billion in 2015, accounting for 40% of the global total. This is set to grow 32.6% into 2016 as a greater number of China’s 1.3 billion potential consumers take to buying online.

Experts have noticed the nation weathering a global economic slowdown far better than others, and targeting crowds of online buyers may represent a huge consideration for marketers in years to come.