Indochina specialist Riverorchid ends 15 years on independence with sale to Havas

Havas Riverorchid logoRiverorchid, the Indochina specialist agency network, is celebrating its fifteenth birthday with a deal with French communications giant Havas.



As of today, the agency whose mantra is ‘Loving, knowing, living Indochina’, started by Santiphong Pimolsaengsuriya (Pick) and Warwick Olds on 9 September 2000 with a single office in Vientiene and now employs 250 people, will be known as Havas Riverorchid.

The deal, which is to be completed by the end of the year, gives Havas a physical presence in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for the first time, and bolsters its operations in Thailand and Vietnam. Havas now claims to be the only network with a presence in all five Indochina markets.

Warwick Olds

Warwick Olds

Riverorchid will gain from Havas’ technologies, processes, and “innovative culture”, Riverorchid’s co-founder, best known as Pick, said in a press announcement issued today.

Riverorchid, which offers creative, media, PR, research and digital under one roof, mirrors Havas’ ‘Village’ approach to integrated marketing services, where media, creative and other disciplines are housed in the same building, the statement said.

The agency matches “the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Havas network,” said Levent Guenes, COO of Havas Worldwide Southeast Asia.

On the question of why Havas, Warwick Olds said this morning: “This (deal) could have happened last year. It could have happened next year. The big question for us was who. We believe that in Havas we have found an agency that is young as heart – as we are – fast growing, innovative, and has enormous capabilities in digital and CRM. And culturally Havas is a close fit with us.”

Riverorchid’s key clients include ANZ Bank, Unilever, Manulife and Western Union.

The news comes after Havas increased its investment in its media operations in Vietnam in a busier first half year for acquisitions than in all of 2014.

Havas’ chairman and CEO Yannick Bolloré said: “With over 230 million people in one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic regions, Indochina is a tremendously exciting market for Havas and its clients. Acquiring Riverorchid shows our commitment to growth in Asia Pacific and this is a significant step in that direction along with the acquisition of our historical affiliate Havas Media Vietnam.”

Riverorchid has been a consistently strong force in Indochina over the years. The network has been named agency of the year for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar three years running by Campaign Asia.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing