The pan-Asia public relations group, JMA, which went into receivership seven years ago, will be resurrected by its original owner under a similar name and a grandiose ambition. Jeff Mann, founder of the ill-fated Jeff Mann and Associates (JMA), will open his new office on Friday under the name of JMI Group, vowing to be the only independent regional public relations group. Mr Mann founded JMA in 1977 and the agency prided itself on being the largest independent in town. In its heyday in the late 1980s, JMA was the fourth largest PR firm after the big three international firms - Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, and Ogilvy & Mather. The Hong Kong-based regional network of JMA once spanned the region with offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Manila, Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. In 1987, JMA was bought by the then London-listed Moorgate Plc, a PR and training consultancy which was subsequently bought by the British-based Ketson public relations group. Mr Mann then worked for JMA in Hong Kong on a management contract. However, in 1990, over-expansion in the United States and Europe brought Ketson to its knees and into receivership, along with its Hong Kong subsidiary. Mr Mann successfully negotiated with the receivers to continue servicing JMA's clients in Hong Kong under a new name, PR Partnership. The new company retained Hong Kong clients and maintained strategic alliances with PR Partnership. Having run a much smaller operation for a few years, Mr Mann feels the itchiness of his previous ambition. 'It all comes down to the belief that the market niche is there for a good local regional network in which the decisions are made within Asia. That was the premise of JMA a few years ago,' he said. Despite the changes to the public relations industry, he maintains there are companies which prefer local players to the global ones. 'Nine years ago, it was the right idea. Perhaps I sold out too soon,' he said. As a local alternative in the region, Mr Mann is confident the distinctive servicing style of JMA and its winning formula can be duplicated. He is not worried about being late to the market which, although becoming crowded, is growing bigger. 'It has become more sophisticated and more people are using PR in some way or form.'