INTERNATIONAL: UPS to consolidate comms across Asia-Pacific region

SINGAPORE: Global mail, package and freight firm UPS is consolidating its regional PR business across Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia - a move which sees Edelman fighting against pitch rivals Ogilvy PR Worldwide and Weber Shandwick.

Edelman lost the China account to Ogilvy in February, but remained as the incumbent for Thailand and the Philippines.

UPS PR manager, Asia-Pacific, Tan Sock Hwee said they are in the final stages of the pitch process.

'Previously, we looked at PR consultancies in each market but now, with 13 regional offices, we're looking to evaluate our options to see if we can get some PR effectiveness and synergies in a single consultancy network,' said Tan.

Tan added the global acquisition of the Fritz Group of companies in November 2001 created both a larger regional network, and a greater need to run the PR function with fewer players.

Tan confirmed the consultancy choice would be made by the end of the month, and outlined the brief as a combination of media relations, B2B, corporate comms 'and whatever (else) needs to be done to gain market leadership'.

The UPS account is currently split among Ogilvy in China and India, Hill & Knowlton in Japan, and Edelman - whose affiliates OneTwoFour Communications and Eon Communications handle the business respectively, in Thailand and the Philippines.

The Asia-Pacific region is an increasingly important market for UPS, according to its third quarter results - posted last month - whichrevealed a volume gain of 15 per cent in the region. Exports in China grew by 40 per cent and by ten per cent in Singapore.

UPS also recently sealed a new aviation deal with Hong Kong, which allows US carriers to accelerate the flow of goods in and out of Asia.

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