XM Asia Pacific Pte Ltd., a JWT company, has acquired a majority stake in Thomas Idea, Thailand’s leading digital and interactive media agency. The acquisition will give XM Asia a foothold in one of Southeast Asia’s most important markets.
Thomas Idea, which was founded in 1995, offers a full range of digital services, from online strategy planning to user experience design, large-scale application development and the full suite of digital and social media marketing services. The agency employs around 45 people and clients include Beiersdorf, Reckitt Benckiser, Abbott Laboratories, SB Furniture, and Pruksa Real Estate. Thomas Idea CEO Uraiporn “Polly” Cholsirirungskul and Chief Creative Officer Araya Choutgrajank, who together co-founded the company, will remain on in their current leadership roles.
"I am extremely pleased that both Polly and Araya are joining our growing family. Thomas Idea is a key acquisition for us as we are preparing ourselves for the further opening of markets through the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 agreement. We share the same vision of wanting to work with brands that are willing to transform in order to fully capitalise on the fundamental benefits of being more digital,” said Paul Soon, CEO of XM Asia Pacific.
XM Asia has operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and last year, acquired Magnivate, Indonesia’s largest digital agency.
“It is a great opportunity to join one of the strongest digital networks in Asia. The synergies with XM Asia, combined with our team’s exceptional skills, will serve to strengthen our digital offering to our clients and expand our scope across the region,” said Cholsirirungskul.
“Digital is not only becoming the core communication for many brands, but is fast becoming the heart of business. The digital wave is now sweeping Thailand, and this deal positions us, and XM, to ride the very edge of that wave,” added Choutgrajank.
Thailand’s nascent social media scene has reached a critical tipping point. The number of Thais on Facebook, for example, hit 18 million in December 2012, up sharply from 13 million the same period a year before, making this an important point of communication for the country’s advertisers. Overall spending on digital advertising grew by 48% in 2012, according to GroupM.
JWT Asia Pacific has invested heavily in expanding its digital footprint over the last year. In addition to XM Asia’s acquisition of Magnivate, JWT acquired Hungama Digital Services, India’s leading digital agency, and took a stake in Converge, in Pakistan. This latest deal, in Thailand, underscores JWT's commitment to expand its offerings of technological solutions that optimize consumer engagement experience.
“We have ambitious plans for XM Asia, and more acquisitions are on the horizon. One of our top priorities this year is the continued expansion of our digital offerings, and XM will continue to play a major role in that growth plan,” said Michael Maedel, JWT’s Asia Pacific Chairman.