A rush of corporate clients looking to make an impression on the
8,000 journalists in Hong Kong for Monday’s handover of sovereignty
forced local PR firms to look abroad for crews and equipment, as local
demand outstripped supply.
Firms said demand came mainly from existing clients looking to make
their mark on the historic event. But the volume meant that there were
not enough lighting rigs, marquees and sound equipment to go around.
Tuesday’s celebrations in Victoria Harbour alone cost HKdollars 10
million with corporate events costing many millions more. ’It’s boom
time,’ said Citigate director Karen Chang. ’We have had to bring in
overseas crews and had to hire equipment from overseas. We have
production people coming out from Australia.’
Local suppliers seeking to take advantage of the demand were charging
’exorbitant’ prices, Chang said, with many people opting to buy
equipment rather than pay over the odds to hire them.
Eddie Naylor, until recently PR director of Shandwick, agreed the
handover had pushed up business. ’The eyes of the world are on Hong Kong
and that creates an opportunity in PR terms,’ he said. John Frank-Keyes,
editor of Asian PR News, said firms had told him that business had
picked up after a quiet end to last year.
But other firms said they had not seen more business as a result of the
handover. ’It’s very hard to get the client to stand out,’ said
Burson-Marsteller managing director Shirley Dirkin. ’I know a lot of
clients have shied away from doing something as an event particularly in