Hong Kong government to spend substantial amount on PR to boost 'favourable image'

The increased spend is said to ‘counter negative perceptions’ and rebuild international confidence in the city-state.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam's administration is concerned about Hong Kong's international image
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam's administration is concerned about Hong Kong's international image

The Hong Kong government will spend HK$226.6 million (US$29 million) for managing its foreign PR, according to independent news source Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP). The government's annual budget announced last month indicated that PR efforts outside of Hong Kong will grow by 53.5%, and this increased spend will be used to promote a "favourable image" of the city internationally and on the mainland.

The HKFP report said that the PR work will be carried out by the Information Services Department (ISD), which will market Hong Kong as "Asia's World City," and will accentuate the island's status as a regional business, financial and cultural hub.

"Also highlighted are the city's strengths as a cosmopolitan, well-connected, dynamic and diverse city with world-class talent and infrastructure, and the growing emphasis on quality living and conservation of nature and heritage," the ISD mentioned in their budget.

"More efforts will be made on publicity work and other measures to counter negative perceptions in key markets and rebuild international confidence in Hong Kong."

Last September, the Hong Kong government spent HK$7.4 million (US$1 million) on a global ad campaign to reassure foreign investors that the city remained "welcoming and free" despite months of anti-government demonstrations.

The government also struggled to look for a global PR agency last year to repair its battered image as protests raged on the streets. According to chief executive Carrie Lam, her administration had approached eight agencies, of which four immediately declined because it would have been a "detriment to the agencies' reputation".

Last year, protestors famously crowdfunded ad campaigns around the world to call for international attention on the situation in Hong Kong. This included print ads in The New York Times, Le Monde in France, Frankfurter Allgemeine in Germany, and Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan.

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