HONG KONG—UK PR firm MHP Communications has launched in Hong Kong after acquiring a 51 percent stake in local shop The Consultancy.

The deal, which has been on the cards for over a year, sees The Consultancy founder Emma Smith become chief executive of MHP Communications Hong Kong. Smith established the agency in 2003, after serving as Asia-Pacific executive vice president at Weber Shandwick.

"When The Consultancy was established 10 years ago, my aim was to offer senior-level support of the sort that some agencies struggle to maintain," Smith told the Holmes Report. "We have always maintained that if we ever sold some of the business, it would be to an independent company that shared that outlook. Over the past decade we have grown organically and steadily, but felt the time was right to deepen our resources and widen our horizons."  

"We have been working with many of the folks at MHP for the past six years or so, and they have the same values as us and desire to do great work, so in many respects we already feel like the same family."

Smith will remain supported by her senior team, which includes deputy MD Wendy Allen. In addition to its Hong Kong base, The Consultancy supports clients across the Asia-Pacific region and employs one staffer in Sydney.

The investment marks MHP's fifth office, joining existing operations in London, Edinburgh, Brussels and Washington DC. MHP London-based CEO Gavin Devine becomes chairman of the firm's business in Asia.