The capital city of Vientiane sits on a bend of the Mekong river in Laos and connects directly to its larger Thai neighbour across the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. With a similar emerging market story to other regional sleepers, the country is still undergoing market reforms, opening its stock exchange in 2011 and entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February 2013. But World Bank pegs GDP growth at about 8 per cent and foreign investment is on the uptick as new connectivity and infrastructure projects come into play. The city is also home to Sengdara Communications, Go Communications new partner in the region.
A huge Laos success story may still be years off, but Go isn’t waiting for the checkered flag to wave before getting in on the growth narrative. The PR firm is one of Malaysia’s largest agencies and its Sengdara deal adds to the Go Group’s network, which already includes offices in Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Japan, India and China.
CEO Michael de Kretser (below) said of the partnership that it is “an important strategic move in the group’s network within the Mekong Delta, which is one of the fastest growing regions in Asia.” He added that he sees much foreign investment in the country coming fom Malaysia, China and India “exceeding US$25 billion”.
The company told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the agreement covers strategy implementation for common clients, creative input for PR campaigns and training for people in areas such as digital and social media.
“The partnership will help add experience and expertise to our agency as Public Relations is growing in importance annually," said Sengdara Communications’ CEO, Viroun Sengdara.
"Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries [in Laos] with over 2 million visitors a year.”
Go Group clients include, Nikon, Toshiba, Tourism Victoria, Defence Services Asia, TNT Express, Mitsubishi Electric, Cathay Pacific, Wacoal, Celebrity Fitness, Air Asia, Pfizer, Shell, Magnolia, Fox, Merck and MSD.
The company said the move gives it offices in each of the Mekong Delta countries, which should provide it with an edge for servicing both international and local firms.
“Each country retains its culture, independence and proven methods of operating," said de Kretser. "Experience has shown that it is critical that each PR company retains this—as each country has its own media nuances and each company in the Go Group network has built a reputation that will be enhanced further by being part of the Go Group. Although each country retains its own independence, they adhere to the blueprint established under the Go Group umbrella.”