The Hong Kong government is understood to have invited
consultancies Shandwick, Burson-Marsteller and Harris Communications, to
pitch for work estimated to be worth at least pounds 1.5 million in
The appointed agency will be responsible for devising public affairs,
business-to-business and tourism programmes to promote the colony
The proposed PR budget is expected to be up to pounds 5 million a
The Hong Kong government has come under fire in recent years for
mishandling the Asian flu scare and not riding out the region’s economic
crisis as well as other countries, such as Singapore.
Two years ago it decided to slaughter all of Hong Kong’s poultry when it
was discovered the flu virus, which had killed four people, was carried
by the birds. The decision sparked mounting public panic.
Despite issuing tenders the government has not made a final decision on
whether it will actually use an external consultancy. This is partly
because it has come under fire from some members of its own legislative
council. They have been angered at the proposed plans and believe the
idea is a waste of money.
Cyd Ho Sau-lan, a member of the legislative council, said the plans
implied that the government’s Information Services Department was not up
to the job. A government spokesman claimed, however, that as the economy
recovers the image of Hong Kong needs strengthening and professional
advice is worth considering.