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Event planner ready for any job

Rajesh Kumar, anaging director of Mega Events, speaks to the Post from his office in Phnom Penh
Rajesh Kumar, managing director of Mega Events, speaks to the Post from his office in Phnom Penh last week. Vireak Mai

Event planner ready for any job

While Cambodia has many advertising agencies, the number of event management firms is rather small, with less than 10 in operation. The Post’s Anne Renzenbrink talks with Rajesh Kumar, managing director of Mega Events (Asia) Co Ltd, about the profits and challenges of organising seminars, press conferences and corporate dinners in a small but growing market.

What’s your background and how did you start your company?
I landed in Cambodia in 2008. I started on my journey with NagaWorld. I was their vice-president of events entertainment and promotions. I took over Mega Events, which has been around since June 2012, in September this year. We basically project ourselves as a one-stop hassle free events centre where we do the A to Z of events for clients. We take care of the operations, the pre-event briefing stage, the planning, obviously the implementation during the actual event, and post-event reporting. We do everything from corporate dinners, product launches to seminars, exhibitions, concerts, entertainment, the whole array.

Do some of these jobs fall more in the arena of advertising and public relations?
Events is actually a very broad term. We do PR, we do what we call consultancy services, we do sound and lights, we do staging. We try to take on a lot. I have a couple of partners in Malaysia. The market here doesn’t really need a lot of manpower support because the magnitude of events here are rather small. If it’s big, the team from Kuala Lampur will fly in to handle the entire scope. For next year, I can’t reveal this now, but we are working on two huge events which are going to put Cambodia on the global map. These are big in scale, and happening in Cambodia for the first time. I can’t tell you many details now because it has not been announced.

How about you tell us just what area we are talking about?
It’s sports. It’s going to be in the sports genre. So that’s why there’s a lot of planning involved because of the magnitude.

You are headquartered in Phnom Penh. What’s the advantage of being based here compared to what I assume are more mature markets such as Malaysia or Thailand?
It’s very simple actually. If you look at the mature market like Malaysia, there are like 15,000 events companies just in the capital city alone. That’s not counting the other states in Malaysia. So I don’t think it’s viable to go compete with them. I think Cambodia is a place which is unique; there is huge opportunity and potential here. The market is small, there are not many events players here. As for our long-term plans, we are using Cambodia as a springboard to Myanmar and to Laos.

What are the major challenges in Cambodia?
My main challenge that I foresee is price throwing. Undercutting each other. It’s happening in Cambodia right now with the limited number of players of event organisers. So people are throwing prices just to get the job. I mean if you undercut each other I think you are just killing each other. I know that we just started off in September, and like any new company here, there are challenges. We have taken a totally different approach and are going aggressively hard on marketing. The first two to three months I don’t expect to make any money.

Where do you see your company 10 years from now?
I want to be able to position Mega Events as the number one life events agency in the region. That’s where we want to go. We want to be number one in Indochina. We are not competing with Malaysia, but more on the Indochina region, especially Myanmar, Laos.

What sector has the biggest demand for event management in Cambodia?
Basically it will be big corporations based in Cambodia, mostly foreign. We have plans to work with Maybank. Basically our first priority is to work with Malaysian clients, me being Malaysian. Other than that we would like to work with companies like BMW, ANZ global bank, basically the big brands. We can tailor-make our packages to smaller clients as well. We are not limiting ourselves to a specific industry.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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