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WPP results: ‘Challenging’ times for Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand but emerging Asian markets grow

The world’s largest advertising group WPP is facing tough times in South East Asia’s most established markets, according to its end-of-year report for 2016.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand were cited in the holding company’s report as being “more challenging” than most global markets in terms of like-for-like growth. At the same time, emerging markets such as  Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam were highlighted as showing double-digit like-for-like growth during the last year.

Meanwhile, out of Brazil, Russia, India and China – known as the BRIC states – India was described as the one “star currently continuing to shine”. The other BRIC countries slowed due to their own unique economic challenges.

Overall, Sir Martin Sorrell’s company reported strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The company also performed well in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe – with those markets accounting for 29.9 per cent of the company’s overall revenue of US$17bn.

Advertising and media, WPP’s strongest business, grew in the Asia-Pacific region over the full year despite “softening” globally due to more turbulent trading conditions.

Across the whole business, the company reported a like-for-like net sales rise of 3.1 per cent, reaching US$15bn. However, a more “conservative” outlook of 2 per cent annual growth was forecast for 2017 due to “continued tepid economic growth and recent weaker comparative net new business”.

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