NEW YORK--Edelman has entered Vietnam and Switzerland, via agency acquisitions in each of the markets.
In Vietnam, the firm has bought leading independent AVC Communications, which will be renamed AVC Edelman. The deal makes Edelman one of the first international PR firms to enter a rapidly growing market; Ogilvy PR previously acquired Vietnam’s T&A Communications in 2009.
Founded in 2000 by MD Bui Ngoc Anh, AVC’s 35 staffers work across consumer electronics, technology, healthcare, FMCG and energy. “Public relations is still a relatively young industry in Vietnam,” said Anh. “As one of the first multinational PR firms to enter Vietnam directly, AVC Edelman will be able to define a new standard for the communications industry locally.”
Thanks to steady GDP growth and increasing foreign investment, Vietnam’s PR industry has tripled in size over the past five years, reflecting the market’s evolution beyond above-the-line advertising. AVC will form part of Edelman’s Southeast Asia sub-region, reporting into Bob Grove, managing director of Edelman Southeast Asia.
“Because its immediate and medium growth prospects are one of the best in Asia Pacific, our clients are pounding at our door for communications help to navigate the Vietnam market,” said Richard Edelman, while announcing the deal in Ho Chi Minh City. “Vietnam’s middle-income sector is growing rapidly and it has the 13th largest population in the world.”
In Switzerland, meanwhile, Edelman has acquired Zurich-based K Comms, whose CEO Alexander Fink takes charge of Edelman Schweiz. Fink also becomes corporate practice lead for the DACH region, and deputy chair of the EMEA corporate practice.
In the French-speaking region of Switzerland, the newly-created agency will continue its co-operation with FTC Communication, based in Lausanne.
Edelman EMEA CEO Robert Phillips said that a Swiss presence marks an important strategic step for the firm, given the number of corporate headquarters located in the country, for such clients as Ebay, HP, Novartis and Roche.
"We are happy that through the team of Alexander Fink we are present for our existing Swiss international clients with our own office and can therefore combine local and global know-how from one source,” said Phillips. “The opening of Edelman Switzerland comes off the back of a very strong business performance in 2011 across the region, despite what are clearly troubled economic times. Many of our European offices have experienced double-digit growth, led by Germany, the UAE, the Netherlands, the UK and Spain.”
Edelman has made several agency acquisitions in recent years, including Significa in Brazil, US firm Vollmer, and digital agencies in Europe.