PLUguide was founded by Lawrence Chia who saw the need and viability of a free PLU map in Singapore when he had many friends asking him for directions to PLU venues. A survey was conducted and the feedback from the PLU business owners was positive.
The first PLUguide Singapore was released in April 2004 with much support from the Singapore PLU business owners. It was published bi-monthly and by the third issue, the PLU community in Singapore had one way or another heard about PLUguide. Demand for the guide grew with some issues subsequently going out of print.
With such overwhelming success, PLUguide decided to spread its wings. The first step in regional expansion was in August 2004 with the release of the first issue of PLUguide Malaysia. Starting with only Kuala Lumpur, the second issue grew with the inclusion of Johor Bahru and subsequently, Penang in the third issue.
In April 2005, PLUguide Thailand - Bangkok was introduced in Thailand to cool reception due to aggressive competition from similar local PLU publications. However with its unique cosmopolitan look, it finally won over the hearts of the Bangkok PLU community.
But all was not a bed of roses, the first issue of PLUguide Thailand - Phuket was released in October 2005. Unfortunately, it was to be the first and only issue mainly due to the effect of the tsunami in December 2004 to the Phuket tourism industry. After much consideration, the publication of PLUguide Thailand - Phuket was ceased.
In line with expansion plans, PLUguide Hong Kong was released in February 2006 followed by PLUguide Taiwan in October 2006. By then, PLUguide had reached 5 countries with more editions in the pipeline. But publishing too many different editions was not a viable option. Out of necessity, the idea of compiling all the countries into one concise edition emerged. Thus, PLUTO was conceived with the intention to inform, entertain and ultimately, provide a showcase of the Asia PLU community from an Asian perspective.
PLUTO is an acronym for People Like Us Travel Orbit and it represents a sphere of travel activity for “People Like Us” (PLU). This name was also chosen because Pluto is a planet that has recently been denounced as a planet and this is symbolic of the ostracism that most PLUs have to live with.
Certainly, PLUTO heralds a new era for PLUguide with many more good things in store for the future.