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Nation: _Business Ad firms plan to

Subject: Nation: 	Business  Ad firms plan to set up shop in Burma 

Ad firms plan to set up shop in Burma 
COMPETITION in Burma's advertising sector is set to intensify this year with
two leading global advertising agencies -- Ogilvy & Mather Co Ltd and Euro
Co Ltd -- planning to open branches in the country. 
Currently, five advertising firms have permission to operate through joint
ventures with local Burmese investors. These are: Thailand-based Prakit and
Co Ltd, Bates of Singapore, MSCT Advertising, MMI of Singapore and Myanmar Spa
Today Far East Advertising Ltd (MSTF). 
Spa Advertising Co Ltd and Far East Advertising Plc, both Thai agencies,
a joint venture with Burma-based Today Group to establish MSTF in 1995. The
venture now ranks in the top three largest billing agencies in Burma. 
MSTF managing director Dr John Lin said the company was expected to become the
market leader this year, with an estimated billing of US$700,000 compared with
$500,000 in 1998. This is out of a total of $2.5 million billed in the Burmese
Lin said Burma was being eyed by many global advertising agencies because of
rising imports from Asean, the United States and even Europe. This could drive
the advertising business this year to grow by as much as 35 per cent over

He said that in the first half of the year, MSTF expected to get an additional
five clients. These include Yuasa Battery and Silver Light of Asia Lamp Co
while another three are under negotiation. The company expects to break even
this year. 
MSTF currently has no expansion plans, but will emphasise human resource
development to maintain competitiveness amid tougher competition resulting
new entries into the market. After years of experience in Burma, MSTF believes
it remains strong in reflecting changes in consumer behaviour. 
''Cigarettes are at the top of advertising spending in Burma, recording $2.05
million in 1997, follow by electronic goods and foodstuffs,'' Lin said. 
Besides Burma, Spa Advertising opened a representative office in Cambodia,
mainly serving products of its parent, the Osotspa Group. The company plans to
upgrade it to branch status in the future. 
Previously, Spa Advertising considered opening offices in Vietnam and China,
but later dropped the plans due to the onset of the regional economic crisis. 

The Nation