TOKYO, JAPAN: WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell has made good on
his promise to grow business in Asia.
Last week, Ogilvy PR entered the notoriously tough Japanese market,
acquiring a one-third stake in the $15 million firm PRAP.
Ogilvy is the number-three player in the Asia region, behind Weber
Shandwick Worldwide and Burson-Marsteller, according to PRWeek's 2000
The move will help boost its position in both Japan and China. PRAP is
Japan's second-biggest PR firm, behind Dentsu PR.
PRAP was also the first Japanese agency to enter China, and is seeking a
public listing in 2003. Japan is Asia Pacific's largest PR market, with
an estimated $500 million spent on PR services annually.
Other major firms are said to have courted PRAP, which was founded in
1970 by Hisashi Yajima, president and CEO. The purchase price was
PRAP, which is named for the fields in which it works (public relations,
public affairs, production, and promotion), has a strong international
and local client list, including British Airways, Levi-Strauss, Nike,
Pfizer, Sony, and Hitachi.
Matthew Anderson, Ogilvy's Asia-Pacific president, said, "Being in the
Asian market and not being in Japan is a bit like being in business in
the US and not having an office in New York."
Other firms have found Japan a tough market given the difficulty of
attracting local talent to foreign-owned firms.
PRAP employs about 200 people in Japan and China.