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Ogilvy has rosy view on China and India

Last updated on: August 13, 2008 16:53 IST

Advertising growth in emerging markets such as China remained robust this year and would help offset any slowdown in developed countries, according to Miles Young, who takes over as chief executive of the Ogilvy Group in January.

"If you look at the big gorillas of China and India, I would say that there is no sign whatsoever of anything even approaching a recession," Mr Young said.

He dismissed fears of a weakening of markets for luxury goods. "Developing markets will help offset some of the slower growth in the old, but I'm not that pessimistic about the old markets either," he said.

His comments come as larger western markets, notably the US and parts of western Europe, are suffering a slowdown in some advertising sectors, led by the automotive and financial services industries, prompting analysts to shave estimates for global growth this year and next.

CBS and Viacom last week both reported disappointing second-quarter earnings.

Ogilvy, part of Martin Sorrell's WPP group, has expanded rapidly in Asia in recent years. In China it has a pipeline of four or five further agencies it plans to acquire, having evaluated 1,000 targets and bought 20 over the past five years.

The group is keen to extend its reach, especially in western and central China, and is focusing on areas from healthcare to digital.

Mr Young is chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, and will replace Shelly Lazarus as group chief executive when she becomes chairman.

Mr Young said advertising spending in China was on course to expand 25 per cent this year, in line with the rapid growth of the past few years.

He predicted that the Chinese advertising market would overtake Japan's - still the world's second-biggest after the US but growing at only 1 to 2 per cent annually - in three to four years and become number one a decade later.

The Olympicshave not had a significant impact on the Chinese market's size.

India , constrained by its old-fashioned distribution and retail networks, remains a relatively small market for advertising but is growing fast and Ogilvy's business there is expanding by 30 per cent a year.

"The critical thing about India is that its best days haven't even started," Mr Young said.

Ogilvy's next priorities in emerging Asia are Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, Ogilvy is setting up a digital production centre in Dhaka, employing 100 people, to provide a global service for the group.

Additional reporting by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Joshua Chaffin in New York
Justine Lau, Leanne Wang in Hong Kong