Faces & Markets of PRGN: Hong Kong – Asia’s World City

Joanne Chan, founder and managing director at LBS Communications

The information in this post originally appeared on Public Relations Global Network’s blog.

We are pleased to share the next post in a series of in-depth profiles of key international markets written by one of our PRGN partners.

Faces and Markets of PRGN is a series of blog posts in 2024 that puts Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) member agencies and their markets in the spotlight.

In this next blog post in the series, Joanne Chan of LBS Communications, describes the business and communications environment in Hong Kong and offers advice on navigating her home market.

Business environment in Hong Kong

Renowned as Asia’s World City, Hong Kong stands as a vibrant and dynamic market and business environment. As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, it boasts a prime geographical location, a gateway to Mainland China, and acts as a conduit for global enterprises looking to tap into the vast Asian markets.

Strategic Location: Strategically positioned at the south-eastern tip of Mainland China, Hong Kong offers unmatched access to key Asian markets. Its proximity to manufacturing hubs in the Pearl River Delta makes it a preferred choice for businesses looking to manage operations across Asia.

Robust Economy: Hong Kong’s economy is characterized by its low taxation, minimal government intervention, and an established international financial market. The territory has a strong service-oriented economy, particularly in finance, trading, and logistics, contributing significantly to its GDP.

Legal Framework and Governance: The city operates under the principle of “one country, two systems,” maintaining its own legal system, currency, customs territory, and immigration policies distinct from Mainland China. This framework has established a favorable and transparent business environment, underpinned by a reliable and independent judiciary.

International Business Hub: With its cosmopolitan lifestyle, Hong Kong is home to numerous international corporations. The city’s infrastructure, including its world-class airport and deepwater ports, along with advanced telecommunications, make it an efficient base for regional operations. English and Chinese are both official languages, facilitating international business communications.

Innovation and Technology: The government actively promotes innovation and technology development, offering various incentives and infrastructure support to foster a vibrant ecosystem for startups and tech companies. This includes initiatives in areas like fintech, smart city projects, and biotechnology.

Taxation and Free Economy: Known for its simple taxation system and low tax rates, Hong Kong is often cited as one of the freest economies in the world. There’s no value-added tax (VAT), no capital gains tax, and foreign income is not taxed, making it an attractive spot for business and investment.

Talented Workforce: The city boasts a well-educated and skilled workforce, proficient in both English and Chinese, providing a valuable asset for businesses operating in this market. There’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a readiness to embrace new technologies and innovations.

Challenges and Considerations: While Hong Kong presents numerous opportunities, businesses must also navigate challenges such as rising costs, competition, and political considerations. The relationship with Mainland China also presents unique dynamics that can impact the business environment.

In conclusion, Hong Kong’s blend of East and West, its robust economy, strategic location, and favorable business environment make it a compelling market for international businesses and investors looking to establish a presence or expand in Asia. Its commitment to maintaining a dynamic, free, and open market ensures its status as a global city at the forefront of international trade, finance, and innovation.

Communications and media market in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong communications, media, and PR market is a dynamic and competitive landscape that reflects the city’s status as an international business hub and its unique East-meets-West culture. 

Diverse and Sophisticated Media Landscape: Hong Kong’s media landscape is highly developed and diverse, with an extensive range of local and international news outlets operating in both English and Chinese. This includes print newspapers, digital news sites, television, and radio stations. The presence of major global media outlets alongside local ones offers businesses multiple channels to reach their target audiences.

Digital and Social Media Proliferation: With one of the world’s highest rates of Internet and smartphone penetration, digital and social media play a crucial role in Hong Kong’s communication strategies. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are popular for English speakers, while Chinese-language platforms such as WeChat are also widely used. This digital landscape offers fertile ground for digital marketing, online PR campaigns, and social media engagement.

International and Local PR Services: The PR industry in Hong Kong is sophisticated, with numerous international and local agencies offering a wide range of services. These agencies are well-versed in both global and local communication strategies, understanding the nuances of operating in Hong Kong’s multicultural environment.

Importance of Relationship Building: In line with wider Asian business culture, personal relationships are crucial in Hong Kong. Successful PR strategies often depend on strong relationships with media representatives, influencers, and other stakeholders.

Bilingual Communication: Bilingual (English and Chinese) communication is a norm. Materials, press releases, and campaigns are often executed in both languages to cater to the diverse local population and the international community.

Crisis Management and Sensitivity: Given Hong Kong’s complex environment, especially in recent years, businesses need to be ready for crisis management. Sensitivity to local issues, cultural nuances, and global perspectives is crucial to maintain a positive brand image.

Strategic Importance: For businesses looking to expand in Asia, Hong Kong’s communications market offers a strategic platform. Its international outlook, coupled with proximity to Mainland China and other Asian markets, makes it an ideal base for regional communication strategies.

Key expertise of LBS Communications

  • Investor Relations
  • Media Relations
  • Social Media

Top 3 advice for foreign companies navigating the communications environment in Hong Kong

Understand the Local Context and Culture:

1. Cultural Sensitivity: Acknowledge and respect Hong Kong’s unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. Understanding local customs, values, and sensitivities is crucial. Tailor your communication strategies to resonate with both the local and expatriate communities.

2. Language Proficiency: Communications should be bilingual, catering to both English and Cantonese (or Mandarin) speakers. Ensure that translations are not just linguistically accurate but also culturally and contextually appropriate.

Build Strong Relationships and Networks:

1. Media Relations: Develop and maintain good relationships with local media outlets, journalists, and influencers. Attend industry events, participate in local initiatives, and engage in face-to-face meetings to build trust and understanding.

2. Local Partnerships: Consider partnering with local businesses, PR agencies, or consultants who understand the Hong Kong market and can provide valuable insights and connections. They can act as a bridge, helping you navigate and avoid potential pitfalls.

Stay Informed and Agile:

1. Regulatory Awareness: Keep abreast of the local regulatory environment, especially laws related to advertising, marketing, data protection, and free speech.

2. Crisis Management: Prepare for crisis management with a clear, responsive plan. Hong Kong’s media environment can be fast-paced and unpredictable, especially given recent political developments.

Most influential media in Hong Kong

According to Similarweb, the Top 5 influential media in Hong Kong are:

Thus, having specific media or influencers on consumer or corporate contents that can land on Yahoo HK would be a good way to click-off a consumer / corporate communications campaign.

For example: Fortune InsightBossMindAASTOCKSinfocastHKEJYahoo Columnist would be the most common content providers of the corporate-related finance contents among Yahoo HK.

And more consumer-related content can be found on Yahoo style / food / travel editorial team.

Top social media channels in Hong Kong*

  • Facebook: 78.8% of internet users aged 16-64
  • Instagram: 64% of internet users aged 16-64
  • WeChat: 51% of internet users aged 16-64
  • X: 29.8% of internet users aged 16-64
  • TikTok: 24.1% of internet users aged 16-64
  • LinkedIn: 21.9% of internet users aged 16-64 *Source: Meltwater

2024 international events in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Arts Festival 2024

Launched in 1973, Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international event committed to enriching the cultural life of the city by presenting leading local and international artists in all genres of the performing arts as well as educational events in February and March each year. More info here.

Hong Kong Sevens 2024

Each year, Hong Kong Sevens attracts some of the world’s greatest rugby players and thousands of fans from every corner of the globe, bringing an exhilarating atmosphere to the Hong Kong Stadium. Teams compete in both Men’s and Women’s Sevens tournaments with over 70 world-class matches. More info here.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2024

The largest international art fair in Hong Kong, Art Basel Hong Kong features a list of 243 premier galleries from Asia and beyond. This year ABHK will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 28 to 30, 2024, with Preview Days on March 26 and 27. More info here.

Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races

As the birthplace of modern dragon boat racing, Hong Kong hosts the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in June every year. This jam-packed weekend event features a series of races, where top dragon boat racing teams from Hong Kong and around the world compete along the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui East in Victoria Harbour. More info here.

For more statistics on Hong Kong and to download the author’s full bio and market report, click here.

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