Burson considers financial stake in Jiwin PR

Public relations giant Burson-Marsteller has hinted it may take a direct financial stake in Jiwin the PR arm of the government-owned Dubai Press Club.

The news comes after Burson-Marsteller said that it had signed an exclusive affiliation agreement with Jiwin, an agency that was only set up in March this year. The agreement will see Jiwin working to supporting Burson-Marsteller clients' activities in the region, while Burson-Marsteller will raise the profile of Jiwin clients seeking to enter global markets.

Jiwin's client list includes government bodies such as Dubai Properties, Dubai International Capital and Dubai Media City.

Jiwin also looks after public relations for UAE telecommunications firm Du.

Bill Rylance, president and chief executive officer of Burson-Marsteller, Asia-Pacific, told Campaign that while the relationship was still at an early stage he saw no reason why the pair should not cement their link further.

Rylance also revealed that Burson-Marsteller is looking to create a regional network of affiliate agencies.

"This is a non-equity initiative initially a coming together of two firms that have complementary visions," said Rylance.

"If Jiwin is successful, we will be successful, and we will explore in due course if we need to expand the exclusive affiliation into something more formal.

"We're a WPP group firm and if we have a strong relationship with any organisation that's providing services to our clients, obviously we have an inbuilt interest in exploring investment opportunities. But it takes two to tango."

Previously, Burson-Marsteller has been affiliated to Asda'a and Bates PanGulf.

Rylance said the reason the agency had decided to partner with Jiwin was because of its international outlook.

"Our interest is how can we realise the extraordinary opportunity that exists in Dubai and in the region as a whole," said Rylance. "We could establish our own business here or we could partner with a firm that has a complimentary vision, a global vision. In the past we have partnered with firms, very fine firms, but ones that have a domestic or regional vision. We wanted to be with a firm that is looking globally to help take its clients global and we've found that in Jiwin."

Rylance said he would work closely with Jiwin in setting up a regional network.

"The affiliate network will look at how we can encourage and give incentives to those firms to help their clients go global, rather than just looking only at how we can help our multinational clients in this region," he said. "Saudi

Arabia is a priority market, we already have an affiliate in Egypt and we will be looking at Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait."

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