BEIJING—Chinese marketing communications group BlueFocus has reported PR revenue growth of 45% in 2014, amid aggressive digital and international expansion.

The group's PR fees reached $179m in 2014, compared to $123m in 2013. PR growth appears to have cooled in the second half of 2014, after improving by 67% during the first half of the year.

Last year, BlueFocus become the 16th largest PR firm in the world according to the 2014 World PR Report, a ranking that is sure to ascend when the 2015 edition is released later this year.

Overall, BlueFocus gross operating revenue surged 67% to $965m in 2014. Net profit increased by 63% to $115m.

Much of the growth was led by BlueFocus' continued diversification into a broad range of digital and e-commerce services. Digital-related business accounted for more than half of overall revenue, at $528m, effectively doubling from one year earlier.

Meanwhile, the group's high-profile international expansion activity saw overseas revenues reach $65m, or 7% of overall revenue. BlueFocus followed earlier investment in Huntsworth and We Are Social by acquiring US business Vision 7 (which owns Citizen Relations) and Fuseproject in 2014.

In an in-depth Holmes Report Profile last year, BlueFocus CEO Oscar Zhao laid out his plans for international growth, which involve considerable investment in technology, digital and creative services. International operations are now led by international president Holly Zheng, who is based in the US. It is understood that BlueFocus America president Helen Fu Thomas left the company earlier this year.

"Despite the overall economic slowdown, BlueFocus is still able to achieve remarkable results," said BlueFocus CEO Oscar Zhao. "BlueFocus will continue to increase strategic investment in emerging areas, to migrate our company towards more technology and product-oriented."

"BlueFocus has the confidence to break the Rmb10bn (US$1.6bn) revenue target in 2015, and bring the marketing communications industry in China to a new height," added Zhao. "Among which, 20% of revenue is expected to be generated from international business, aimed at US$300m. BlueFocus is a company with dream."