INTERNATIONAL: FCO holds pitch to assist in rebrand of UK in China

BEIJING: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is pitching for a PR agency to help run a £10m campaign to rebrand the UK in China.

The British government has ordered the comms initiative after recent poll results, which reveal young Chinese believe the UK is stuck in the past.

The multi-million pound comms initiative - touted as the biggest PR campaign in the history of the FCO - is to be launched by Tony Blair during a visit to the People's Republic of China in April.[QQ*] The six-month campaign, entitled Think UK, is aimed at improving the perception of Britain in the eyes of young Chinese aged 16-35, labelled the 'successor generation'.

Recent polls by the British government reveal the younger generation in China have a poor image of the UK compared to the US, Japan, Germany and South Korea.

Survey results show many hold particular views of Britain, regarding the British as 'reserved' and 'traditional'.

FCO, the British Council and the British Trade Partners organisation are to lead the campaign and help put the UK back on the map in China - predicted to be the second biggest world market within ten years.

The campaign is headed by former director of corporate membership and development at the Prince of Wales International Trust, Sharon Parr.

She said they hope to appoint an external PR agency within the next few weeks to complement the current 20-strong FCO PR team.

'Given the pace of China's development and the opportunities this presents, we believe this to be the right time to be raising awareness of the UK among those most likely to influence China's future,' said Parr.

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