Chuo Senko set to ride growth boom in region
Chuo Senko (Thailand), the country's first international advertising agency, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in style. A number of joint ventures and new business units have been formed in the past months, to cash in on the influx of small and medium-sized Japanese companies into Thailand, and Chuko Senko is riding on this trend to secure organic growth not only in Asean but beyond.The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is opening more doors for business, Shuji Okawa, president and CEO, tells The Nation.
Thailand appears to benefit, as it enjoys a strategic location in the region. Despite experiencing many troubles in the past couple of years, the country still remains attractive to foreign investors, particularly from Japan. In January, Japanese carmakers invested in new plants. For instance, Nissan laid the foundation stone for a Bt11-billion plant while Mazda said it would invest Bt8.5 billion in a transmission plant. Roland DG launched a printer plant in Samut Sakhon.
"This is a great opportunity for us to expand our client base in Bangkok, on top of Japanese large-scale clients that have already a strong presence here," Okawa said.
Kasikornbank recently estimated that throughout this year, more than 1,000 medium-sized Japanese companies are planning to enter Thailand, to cash in on the regional economic integration by the end of 2015.
new joint venture
To capitalise on this trend, in January the agency formed a 60:40 joint venture, 7-Note Co, with Tokyo-based Geo Brain Corporation to provide consulting services for Thai companies and new clients wanting to invest in Asean.
The company also formed a strategic alliance with Daiko Advertising, the fourth-largest advertising agency in Japan, for the Southeast Asian market.
To build its client base, last year the company set up three subsidiaries - RDSS, Digital DNA and Ad Asia - to handle new clients, particularly conflict clients, which are companies that are competitors of clients of Chuo Senko's main office.
RDSS provides a service for retail development and shopper marketing. Digital DNA offers digital and social marketing services that involve strategic and conceptual development of digital media campaigns.
Ad Asia handles international and conflict clients.
Chuo Senko has also established a public relations department to meet the needs of current clients and also to attract new ones. To fulfil its role as an integrated marketing communications business and support its clients in expansion for the AEC, the company has added two subsidiaries - Chuo Senko (Myanmar) and AD-Asia - to extend its client base in Myanmar.
Myanmar is the latest country in Chuo Senko's network that spans Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Chuo Senko (Myanmar) was established in Singapore and Myanmar. The Singapore-based unit is wholly owned by Chuo Senko Dynamics, which is 82 per cent owned by Chuo Senko (Thailand) and 18 per cent by Japan-based Striders Corp. The Singaporean unit owns 100 per cent of the Yangon-based unit.
"After a two-year market study, we saw a lot of potential in Myanmar while some American, European and even Japanese companies are jumping into this market," said Okawa, who was appointed as the leader of the Thai advertising house last September.
The Yangon-based units are expected to generate profits next year.
The Bangkok office would remain the hub of the region to oversee its overseas business not only in Asean but also beyond.
Early this year, the company formed a joint venture named Chuo Senko India with DDB Mudra Group to expand its business via its partner's network in India. DDB Mudra has 30 offices throughout that country.
Okawa admits that his company's expansion in Asian countries was the biggest challenge in his life but he believes that it was possible to create organic growth for the company.