Asia: Special report

There are a number of indicators that suggest that, as far as advertising and media are concerned, Asia is the future.

Consider that recent visitors to Mumbai include Keith Smith, TBWA's president, international; Richard Pinder, the chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide; and David Jones, the global chief executive of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Last month, Group M's Mark Patterson, WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell and Ogilvy's Miles Young visited. They were all taking stock of India, described by Sorrell not as emerging, but as a "faster growing market". According to ZenithOptimedia, adspend as a percentage of GDP in Brazil, Russia, India and China was 0.5 per cent in 2001, compared with 1.5 to 2 per cent in mature markets.

Economies in Asia are booming, with India and China recording more than 10 per cent GDP growth - and estimated to do so through to 2015. The GDP growth-fuelled investments in infrastructure, such as malls and multiplexes, make advertising more effective. In large parts of Asia, until a few years ago, there was little or no retail infrastructure to support the sale of premium products and services. Now, India has an embarrassment of riches.

Asia is moving up the value chain of business. All of Lenovo's worldwide communication needs are managed from Bangalore, an exciting experiment in advertising, analysed on page 27. India has been chosen not as a low-cost option, but as a high-competence one.

Now, add up all these factors. A region with a low advertising-to-GDP ratio, long-term double-digit GDP growth, a retail infrastructure and a talent pool that is available locally. Who is travelling to Mumbai or Shanghai or Jakarta next month? John Wren? Lee Clow? Perhaps all of them.