MANILA—Cohn & Wolfe has hired Amiel Mendoza to lead its new office in the Philippines, the latest step in its aggressive Asia-Pacific expansion plan.

Mendoza joins the agency after spending three years at highly-rated local firm Eon. He will report to Gavin Foo, Cohn & Wolfe's Singapore-based MD of Southeast Asia.

The Philippines launch follows considerable expansion of Cohn & Wolfe's Asian presence over the past three years. Via a combination of acquisition and startups, the firm has entered Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and significantly boosted its mainland China operations. 

The Philippines office, which already counts six employees, will focus on technology, consumer  and branding, working for existing Cohn & Wolfe Southeast Asia clients such as Google and Nokia.

“With 100 million people, a large consumer base and a fast-emerging middle class, the Philippines cannot be ignored,” said Foo.  “Our deep understanding of Asian business and culture and unparalleled global expertise and resources make Cohn & Wolfe a strong partner for global and local brands looking to penetrate this market.”

The Philippines has not typically attracted substantial interest from global PR firms, thanks to a small PR market size and decades of economic instability. However, sustained economic growth in recent years suggests that it may become a more appealing destination for multinational PR agencies.

"The Philippines economy is growing rapidly, and we see much of the same economic formulas that benefited Indonesia back then — a more stable government and a large, young and burgeoning consumer population," Foo told the Holmes Report.

"What really excites us is the plethora of high-quality locally-owned Filipino conglomerates that are looking to get to the next stage of branding and communications, and many are looking to bring their brands to regional and international markets."