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Chuo Senko adjusts Thai strategy, plans RP unit

As political stability and economic improvement cannot be counted on in Thailand in the near future, Japanese advertising agency Chuo Senko has decided to offer digital marketing services to local clients with limited budgets while expanding into the Philippines this year to capitalise on the coming Asean economic integration.

"We acknowledge that the advertising industry in Thailand is competitive, saturated and unforeseeable due to the current political situation.

"Therefore we are expanding [our] business to overseas markets by utilising our knowledge and experience," Shuji Okawa, president and chief executive officer of Chuo Senko (Thailand), said yesterday.

He said it was apparent that Japanese companies were worrying about the political and economic situations in Thailand. Also advertising budgets were tending to go down as purchasing power declined.

"[Among] our clients, Honda is affected by this situation. However, we propose alternative ideas with [lower costs], for example digital marketing and direct marketing," he said.

The overall assessment, however, is that Japanese investors are still positive about Thailand, regardless of several instances of unrest during the past four or five years.

To deal with the current difficulties, Chuo Senko plans to diversify its business here, especially in digital, retail development, and customer relationship management.

As well, the firm is planning to set up a new venture in the Philippines, which is scheduled to be finalised at the end of June.

This is part of the company's preparations for the Asean Economic Community, which takes effect next year. Currently Chuo Senko's network covers six Asian countries - Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and India.

Last year, total annual billing was more than Bt1.5 billion, 4 per cent higher than 2012's Bt1.45 billion.

Total gross income was Bt380 million, 18 per cent higher than the previous year. Much of that income, Bt288 million, was derived from clients in Thailand.

"We aim to achieve the same level as last year in consolidated revenues. Due to the current political and economic situations, we expect difficulty in Thailand and hope other countries contribute profit this year," Okawa said.

Ratchasab Nishida, managing director of Chuo Senko, said that this year, his company would initiate a "marketising" strategy - at term meaning a combination of marketing and advertising - in its services to clients.


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