Predictions on the Economy and the Role of PR in Business 

By Jenny Chan

The Hoffman Agency, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Skyline

As the Hong Kong team sets off on a new year, we’d like to take a backward glance at what’s been going on in our market over the past 12 months and where we think the “fragrant harbor” is today. We’ll even throw in a prediction or two for good measure.

Hong Kong’s economy has undergone a significant transformation in the past five years as a result of technological advancement, innovation and globalization. We have seen a huge shift from exporting goods to the introduction of higher, value-added services as the city welcomes more and more knowledgeable workers.

Certainly, all eyes have been on China recently with the change in party leadership, and in positive news it looks like new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping has buoyed hopes for an economic recovery in the mainland.

With robust economic and financial integration between Hong Kong and China, we’re predicting that Hong Kong will increasingly strengthen its position as the gateway for multinational companies entering China and become the springboard for Chinese companies going global in years to come.

Multinational companies hoping to succeed in the PRC need to consider building a second home in China and dedicating resources to help them come to grips with the Chinese landscape. This means getting to know local customers and suppliers better, appreciating the local business culture and customs, cultivating relationships with government leaders and building thought leadership.

As an international financial centre – but more importantly – given its proximity and relationship to China, Hong Kong is well-positioned as the regional, if not global, headquarters for many companies. That’s where communications consultancies come into the picture. With their ability to approach business issues in a holistic manner, PR pros can give local insights and craft compelling stories that will resonate with Chinese stakeholders.

Additionally, we are hearing more from Chinese brands looking to go global. Again, Hong Kong is in a unique position to serve as the region’s hub for trade and tourism. Many of our international clients based in China select Hong Kong as their test bed for strategic expansion and internationalization.

On top of this, Hong Kong is one of the most tech-savvy regions in the world. Underpinning this change is the ubiquitous nature of mobile and the Internet. With Hong Kong’s mobile penetration rate reaching more than 220 percent and household broadband Internet penetration  more than 87 percent, mobile devices and the Internet have revolutionized the way consumers communicate, share, entertain themselves and others, socialize, form relationships and source information. Social media has provided more customer touch points, more methods of content and communication delivery, and more information about customers and their preferences. Clients and brands should continue to stay on top of media trends and blend social media into their traditional communications activities if they are to really make an impact and remain relevant.

That’s our current snapshot of Hong Kong and a hint or two about where we think we’re heading next. Whatever the weather, we’re looking forward to the ride. 

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