WPP’s Kantar Buying China’s CIC For Social Media Market Research

The world’s biggest advertising firm is making yet another acquisition at the intersection of its two targeted growth areas – digital and emerging markets.

WPP’s Kantar Media is buying China’s big social media consumer research firm CIC.

“CIC will enrich our global digital expertise in capturing millions of online conversations and “making sense of the buzz” in order to provide interpretation that informs strategic decisions and leads to action,” says Kantar CEO Jean-Michel Portier, via announcement.

China now has 513 million people online, according to new government data just out, and many of them are flocking to social media services like the weibo microblog services operated by companies including Sina (NSDQ: SINA) and Tencent.

CIC mines those arenas to gather consumer opinion in areas including retail, health and brand perception.

CIC got revenue of 29.9 million RMD ($4.7 million) in 2011, WPP said, without disclosing the acquisition price.