Past, present and future positive

Just as no two Asia-Pacific countries have the same history and culture, the region’s public relations has grown in many different ways.


When looking at the origins of public relations in the diverse Asia-Pacific region, it’s easier to talk first about the countries which were, at one time or another, ‘colonised’ by a European power. Public relations in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, for instance, can be traced back to the period immediately following the second world war, when Britain re-established power to a degree and was then gradually (or dramatically) ousted or negotiated an honourable exit. Along with this strong emphasis on national identity and nation building, the public relations industry grew with the need for governments and corporations to present themselves within their own countries and to the outside world. This process was fastest in Hong Kong and Singapore, as they had the opportunity to portray themselves as gateways to the rest of Asia Pacific.

Mary Devereux

Mary Devereux is an international communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in Asia Pacific, Australia and the UK. She has worked for New York Life Insurance and for PR consultancies, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy PR, and now runs boutique public relations firm Right Here Right Now. Mary is co-author of Public Relations in Asia Pacific (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and author of the Asian PR Handbook (Campaign, 1997).