Edelman picks up 'plum' in China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 1996, 12:00am

PUBLIC relations firm Edelman has won a contract with Eastman Chemical that will involve significant media relations work for its local and mainland offices.

Under the 12-month agreement, Edelman will provide media monitoring and training, government relations and crisis management for the American firm's operation in Hong Kong and joint ventures in China.

Eastman Chemical plans to spend between US$200 million and $400 million in China on a series of joint ventures during the next decade.

US-based Edelman had previously worked with the chemical giant on a project basis but had recently been retained. The company will also co-ordinate next month's visit of Eastman chief executive Earnie Deavenport to the company's Yuen Long plant which was acquired last year.

Dan Edelman, the legendary founder of the company, was in Hong Kong last month for the company's regional meetings.

He said that the company would continue its pattern of expansion and planned to establish an office in Taiwan this spring. Since 1993, Edelman has acquired companies in China, Japan and Korea.

Mr Edelman, 75, said buying an existing agency was the most cost-efficient method of expanding the company's network which included 32 offices in 15 countries and another 57 affiliate offices in 27 countries.

He said China was still a small market with small billings but it had to be viewed as a long-term investment.

'It will grow but I don't think China will fulfil its potential for decades,' he said.

Mr Edelman said the company had posted 20 per cent growth on worldwide billings of US$95 million in 1995, the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Mr Edelman said the growth of the Asia-Pacific region was a motivating factor for him to keep working.

'I really want to complete this Asia-Pacific thing and, of course, it can never be complete as we can't be everywhere. My hope is that in the year immediately ahead we will continue this pace.

'The China situation is different from almost anything we have done because, no matter how important and how well your brand name is known all over the world, when you go into China the odds are that outside of the Special Economic Zone most of the population has never heard of you.

'You can have the greatest brand name in the world but there is a whole education process to undertake in China and that is what this company is about,' he said.