BEIJING—Hill+Knowlton Strategies is elevating its China operations to region status under current H+K Strategies leaders Ye Yu and Ivy Soonthornsima (pictured). Prior to the move, China was part of the firm’s Asia region.

According to global chairman and CEO Jack Martin, the move demonstrates the firm’s heightened focus on the market and its commitment to leveraging and expanding upon its more than 50-year history in the Asian marketplace. “We advise our clients around the world on issues at the intersection of their business and the public, and today one-fifth of that public lives in China,” he says. “The influence of China cannot be overstated.”

Ye and Soonthornsima, who managed the Beijing and Shanghai offices respectively, will become co-presidents reporting directly to Martin. Ye will continue to oversee the Beijing office, and the corporate advisory, public affairs, crisis/training, health care, technology, energy and sustainability practice areas. Soonthornsima will oversee the Shanghai, Guangzhou and pan-China operations, and the corporate communications, marketing communications and finance/investor relations practices.

Soonthornsima will also be developing two new initiatives in China: one in digital (a social PR lab) and one in integrated communications and branding strategy.

John Morgan, president and CEO, Asia, will continue to manage the Asian countries of Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Malaysia, as well as H+K Strategies’s affiliate relationships in Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.