Special Report: Asia

As the network giants of the West continue to grow in the East, it exposes one of the good things about this business: great ideas and creativity can come from anyone, anywhere.

While running a marketing communications behemoth might take a string of qualifications accessible to only a certain section of the world's population (as well as exceptional business and management qualities), it's good news for the creative world that these guys are steering their businesses into Asia - some of the work emerging from the region has been fantastic. In the case of Smooth E facial cream and its Love Story commercials that did so well at Cannes this year, some might even describe it as inspiring (see page 32).

Undoubtedly boosted in profile by the presence of Western agencies in countries such as Thailand, India, Malaysia and, more recently, China, quality work from Asia has been seeping into the global ad industry. Although, like anywhere, the region is not without its share of turkeys.

And, like any emerging market, Asia is experiencing growing pains. There's so much disparity between countries' political systems and economies, that it's difficult to generalise. So, each market requires close inspection to identify the unique opportunities and problems. In this report, we've focused on India as an example of this. In many ways - partly because of its historical ties to the industrialised world - it is a natural location for Western investment. But for myriad reasons, India throws up some fascinating media trends that make attention to detail critical to the success of foreign investors.

But if that means businesses ploughing funds into the region have to think even more carefully than the norm, it can only be good in the long run.


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