3 Key Lessons Learned: Engaging with Hong Kong Media
Hong Kong is known as one of the world’s leading financial, banking and trading centres. As in many large urban centres of the world, Hong Kong has a population of 7.49 million and most people (about 97% of the population) are Chinese and speak Cantonese and English. Hong Kong has established an extensive and advanced communications network, signalling its booming commerce and international importance.
Media consumption is at an all-time high with Hong Kong’s immense appetite for reliable news which has led to the rise of the press, radio, and television industry. The territory has one of the world's largest press industries and is a major centre for print journalism with scores of Chinese-language titles and a handful of English-language dailies.
Hong Kong Media Landscape
After the handover in 1997, the People’s Republic of China committed itself to respect the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which guarantees the freedom of speech, of the press and of publication in article 27. Moreover, freedom of the press is protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and international human rights agreements, which China also promised to respect in regard to Hong Kong. Therefore, the situation in Hong Kong is completely different from that in the neighbouring mainland – also as far as access to international media sources is concerned.
Hong Kong has over 50 newspapers and tabloids, and arguably has one of the highest newspaper-to-resident ratios of major cities worldwide. You can find newspaper stands with newspapers on every busy corner throughout the city as well as at any convenience store or bookshop.
Hub for International News Providers
The availability of the latest telecommunications technology and keen interest in Hong Kong's affairs have attracted many international news agencies, newspapers with international readership and overseas broadcasting corporations to establish regional headquarters or representative offices in Hong Kong. The successful regional publications produced underline its important position as a financial, industrial, trading and communications centre.
The sector or vertical media might be limited but they do provide great content and are a good read for professionals in the respective industries. They tend to be quality content, insights, updates on the latest trends and challenges faced by the industry in Hong Kong.
In addition to the popular mainstream newspapers and tabloids, Hong Kong is also home to regional and international news brands including the Wall Street Journal Asia, AFP Hong Kong, and CNBC Asia. It is a media hub that is comparable to Singapore.
Over the years working with our local team and engaging with Hong Kong media, we found journalists to be a sophisticated bunch of people with a clear sense of what they want and need. Here are some of our key learnings from our media interactions to help you along.
Lesson #1: Parochial content is king
Indeed, like other parts of Asia, Hong Kong is KING. Journalists and reporters demand content that relates to their readers and consumers. It is imperative to deliver the “What is in it for Me” for the enterprises and businesses in Hong Kong. Case studies or local references are powerful data points. How does your story impact businesses in Hong Kong; is foremost on minds and tip of their tongues.
Lesson #2: Hong Kong journalist are an independent lot
Similar to our western counterparts, Hong Kong journalists are independent and do their own research around your pitch. So doing one’s basic data research and homework to identify stories that resonate is critical to successful pitching, our team in Hong Kong will tell you – to the point that great personal contacts and relationships will not help if your story is a washout.
Avoid handing out freebies to the journalist especially during the one on ones (interviews). Unlike some parts of Asia, gifts, tokens and giveaways are frowned upon in Hong Kong.
Lesson #3: Be punctual
With such an efficient transport system in Hong Kong, from the MTR to the trams and buses, majority of the media interviews we have conducted are on time. Journalists and editors respect schedules and ask to respect their time as well. This is one of the more appreciated traits of business in Hong Kong – stands with contemporaries like Singapore, Japan and Korea, apart from other territories where you can be made to wait for more than an hour for a media meeting to start. Always have your spokesperson prepared, suited and ready on time.
These are insights that may be conventional in many parts of the world but definitely not to be taken for granted when travelling in this region. Keep these in mind during your next visit to Hong Kong and engage the media with confidence.
Priority’s footprint covers a region that is diverse, similar and yet culturally vastly different; from India to Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong, we are home to some of the youngest populations in the world, driving some of the world’s fastest developing economies.
Our travels to engage with media have brought us closer to the different cultures, experiences and given us insights that help us do our job with greater conscientiousness, knowledge and appreciation for local customs, national agendas and cultural nuances.