Arun Sudhaman 16 May 2013 // 11:00PM GMT
BRUSSELS--The EU is to spend as much as €5m on PR firms to support the extension of its 'Gateway' business programme into Southeast Asia.
The EU Gateway initiative currently focuses on Japan and Korea, aiming to help European companies develop their business in the two countries. Since 1994, the programme has supported the efforts of 3,000 companies, via a package of package of coaching, strategic and logistical services, along with financial support
Accordingly, the EU is now considering a pilot project that will test a similar approach in Southeast Asia. The new tender follows a €2.5m search for PR firms to strengthen the EU's "public diplomacy and outreach" in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, which is currently ongoing.
The pilot project will focus on Singapore as business hub from which to create links with emerging markets in the region, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia.
The tender includes two components, each of which requires public relations counsel. The first looks at establishing a Europe-based network that will recruit and 'coach' EU companies, supporting them during business missions and linking them with ASEAN business leads in Singapore.
The second sees the setup of an operational unit in Singapore, "responsible for the coordination and logistics of activities in Singapore and in target ASEAN countries, as well as promotion to potential business visitors in Singapore and ASEAN."
Each of the contracts has been assigned a maximum budget of €2.5m across a two-year term.
The agency search comes as the EU attempts to step up its public relations outreach in Asia. Aside from Southeast Asia, the body is also currently seeking PR counsel to support its efforts in China, India and South Asia.