WPP Buys 20% stake in Smart Media JSC

WPP and Smart Media has announced WPP’s plans to take a 20% stake in Smart Media JSC, one of the fastest growing communications groups in Vietnam.

Smart Media was established in February 2008 with the mission of leading Vietnam’s efforts to develop and build the nation’s communications industry. Smart Media was founded jointly by key government bodies: Vietnam Posts and Telecommunication Group (VNPT), Vietnam Television (VTV), Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Co. (VMS), and Vietnam Post Corporation (VNPost) as well as the privately owned GoldSun.

Tuan Anh, CEO of Smart Media, said: “The communication landscape in Vietnam is evolving rapidly. In fact, we can talk of a seismic shift towards new channels and digital technologies. It is important for us to combine our local technology- and distribution experience with the expertise of a world leader in marketing communications. As such WPP has clearly demonstrated its value to the group.”

Vietnam, with a population of 86-plus million and GDP growth rate of 6.23% in 2008, is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The country’s advertising market is forecast to grow 16.6% in 2009 to US$681 million, according to WPP’s GroupM unit.

“The investment in Smart Media clearly demonstrates WPP’s commitment to Vietnam and digital Media. This venture will generate multiple opportunities for WPP companies operating here,” Scott Spirit, Director of Strategy, WPP Digital, Asia-Pacific, commented.

Smart Media has operations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and employs 35 people. Smart Media’s key clients include VNPT, Mobifone, Vinaphone, Vietnam Mobile and VNPost. Smart Media provides a broad range of marketing, communications and multimedia services in Vietnam with a focus on advertising, TV production, internet and mobile services, Contact center and digital content.

On behalf of WPP, JWT Vietnam, which has been operating in Vietnam since 1995, will act as the portal allowing Smart Media to access talent, resources and clients from across WPP agencies.

Chris von Selle, Managing Director, JWT Vietnam added: “This venture is a rare opportunity for WPP and JWT to collaborate directly with leading telecommunications- and media companies on the development and implementation of innovative communication services in Vietnam and for our clients.”

One of the world’s leading marketing communications groups, WPP has long pursued a strategy of investing in faster growing markets. In 2008, GroupM took stakes in three subsidiaries of the DatvietVAC Group Holdings. Other WPP companies operating in Vietnam include Bates141 and Ogilvy.

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