Custom research company TNS has moved Joe Webb from his position as head of digital for TNS UK to head of digital Greater China.

In his new role, Webb will develop the firm’s digital solutions and ensure they complement its long-established marketing research expertise.

“The Greater China market has seen tremendous growth in digital opportunities and with Joe’s proven record and vast experience in digital, we will be better placed to help our clients capitalise on those opportunities than ever before,” said Chris Bonsi, CEO Greater China for TNS.

“TNS has unrivalled marketing research expertise, and combining that with a robust and solid approach to digital gives us a unique position in the market,” Webb said.

Having joined the company in 2009 with more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Rico Chan headed the advertising business team with Yahoo for the past three years.

In the role, he oversaw direct sales, channel sales and online business development, driving the integration of display and search marketing sales team.

Chan took over the role of vice president and general manager as of last month, will now take charge of the daily operations of Yahoo Hong Kong.

Last November Tsoi announced he would step down from Yahoo Hong Kong's top role after. He has since emerged as CEO of JDB Holdings, a digital media network and owner of sites including, and CozyCot, an online community focused on the beauty, fashion and lifestyle industries.

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) named Hotmob to take care of the mobile advertising strategy for its newly acquired Wi-Fi service network, Y5ZONE, which covers 100 major locations in the city.

The mobile agency is tasked to manage the ad space on the mobile Wi-Fi login page across Y5ZONE’s café channels, which covers more than 100 Starbucks and 220 McDonald’s and McCafes in Hong Kong.

The target reach is directed to business executives, working professionals, teenagers and families.

”More and more merchants have realised the values of Wi-Fi and the new opportunities it brings to their businesses,” said HKBN’s managing director of Wi-Fi business Billy Yeung, who added that Wi-Fi has evolved into a basic expectation.

Hotmob CEO Johnny Wong, agreed, noting that the demand on mobile internet access in indoor locations is experiencing rapid growth.

“Wi-Fi service has become one of the influential factors to customers for the consideration of shopping malls or restaurants they are going to visit,” Wong said.

HKBN acquired the new Wi-Fi network in mid-January.

Online advertising expenditure will grow to more than RMB100 billion by 2015, ZenithOptimedia predicts.

The agency released its new global report on new media adoption among advertisers and highlighted its findings for the China market.

Average cost per mille (CPM) for online banner ads in China is around RMB10, ZenithOptimedia wrote, but the number could change considerably with the ad's position, size and creative.

For online video, the agency estimated the average CPM at around RMB60 to RMB100.

"This may increase slightly over the next year, but certainly no faster than it did last year as the market is more stable at the moment in terms of how quickly it is developing," ZenithOptimedia wrote.

Advertising spend on mobile in 2012 totalled RMB5.5 billion, an 83.4% increase from the year before.

The agency also expects the upward trend of online shopping to continue - if slightly slower - over the next few years as more and more people get used to the idea.

"Credit card fraud and counterfeiting have plagued the market, and although some attempts are being made to address shoppers' concerns - such as the introduction and spread of secure online payment services - trust remains an issue."

Audi is stepping up for the Greater China market, setting up a Hong Kong team and opening a digital showroom in Beijing.

The Hong Kong team will be responsible for the Audi brand and the import business of Audi automobile in Hong Kong and Macau. It will be led by Reinhold Carl, who has been with Audi for 25 years and was most recently managing director of Audi Singapore.

This marks the brand's latest branding effort for Greater China, following the opening of its first interactive digital showroom in Asia and its first research and development centre outside Germany in the city of Beijing.

The new complex, known as Audi City Beijing, allows visitors to virtually experience and personalise the range of Audi models available in China and features six floor-to-ceiling projection walls that can call up as many as 100 automobile combinations through touch-screen tables.

"With Audi City Beijing, we bring a new exclusive and futuristic brand experience right to the midst of the urban lives of the people in Beijing," said Luca de Meo, member of the board of management for sales and marketing at Audi.

"The vibrant capital of our largest sales market worldwide is a perfect location for this innovative digital showroom concept."

After London, this is the second Audi City location worldwide. The next Audi City will open in Berlin.

China has announced a ban on TV and radio ads that encourage gifting in a bid to crack down on extravagance and waste.

All television and radio stations were asked to delete all ads that contained gift-giving messages, wrote The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) in a statement.

Messages like “ideal gifting choice”, “gift for bosses”, “giving face to the boss” were all targeted and were most prominently found in luxury watches, rare stamps, precious coins.

The ban is intended to crackdown on extravagance, wastefulness and to promote frugality.

“Television and radio are important platforms to advertise culture, so it should espouse qualities of leadership, good education, community and social development. It should promote Chinese culture and contemporary thoughts of discipline,” SARFT wrote in the statement.

Giving gifts, often to gain favour with government officials, is a common practice during the Chinese New Year, which begins next week.

According to Xinhua , the administration is urging local TV watchdogs to regulate the airing of ads and give more exposure to public service advertising.

The crackdown comes after a ban on alcohol at official military events last December, which hurt expensive Chinese liquors like Kweichow Moutai and Wuliangye Yibin, to name but a few.

Weaker job prospects and a dampened outlook for personal finances in 2013 has slumped consumer confidence in Hong Kong by four index points to 85 in the fourth quarter of 2012, pushing it below the global average of 91 points, according to Nielsen’s latest study.

“As the financial services centre in Asia, Hong Kong has not escaped from the global economic downturn,” said Oliver Rust (pictured), managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong.

On the macro-economic level, factors like the unresolved Eurozone crisis, U.S. fiscal cliff concerns, rising inflation and leadership changes in China are diminishing consumer confidence, whereby 55% of respondents believe they are still in the middle of recession compared to 48% a year ago.

On a more personal level, however, the economy, job security and increasing food prices are the concerns most dear to consumers' hearts – measuring 24%, 15% and 13% respectively; while saving for rainy days remained the top priority.

Though the decreased expenses affected the entire economy as a whole, the biggest sufferers are new technology products – down by 9% compared to Q4 of 2011; new clothes and investments, both of which dropped by 5%; and vacations, which saw a 4% decrease.

The only increase was in the pay-off of debts, which jumped from 14% to 17% compared to 2011.

“Hong Kong consumers are proceeding with extreme caution in spending. There is the lingering concern about the continuously high property prices, the rising commodity prices, the government policy, and the subdued growth in mainland China in 2012", Rust added.

The survey was conducted between 10 to 17 November 2012 and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Samsung has opened the first partner shop in Macau, extending its retail brand experience to the city.

Lawrence Chow, chief marketing officer of Samsung Electronics Hong Kong, said the launch follows the two new Samsung partner shops in Hong Kong last year and is at an easily accessible spot for consumers and tourist in Macau.

"The new shop offers one-stop shop experience to every visitor that they could experience Samsung's innovative technology and the modern way of digital living," he said.

The new shop features a large display at front showcasing Samsung's TV commercials. Inside the store, a range of real products including smartphones, tablets, Smart TV and digital cameras are put on display and demonstration.

Total retail sales last December surged 8.8% year-on-year to HK$46.9 billion, the government announced.

The Census and Statistics Department reported a "notable growth" for Hong Kong's retail industry in December 2012, mainly driven by growth in sales volume of jewellery, watches and clocks and luxury gifts.

These were followed by sales of apparel, commodities in department stores, electrical goods and photographic equipment.

The department said the growth reflected the sanguine consumer sentiment amid favourable labour market conditions and vibrant inbound tourism.

For 2012 as a whole, total retail sales increased 9.8% in value and 7.2% in volume year-on-year.

Looking ahead, the department said the near-term performance of the retail business should continue to be underpinned by recent improvement in economic sentiment and further growth in visitor arrivals, but the public should "stay alert to developments in the external environment".

Of the 179 regions surveyed, Hong Kong ranks 58th this year, four places down from last year’s ranking while China placed 173rd in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index .

“Many media paid dearly for their coverage of democratic aspirations or opposition movements. Control of news and information continued to tempt governments and to be a question of survival for totalitarian and repressive regimes,” commented Reporters without Borders.

“The past year also highlighted the leading role played by netizens in producing and disseminating news.”

It added that China has “lost contact with reality and has been sucked into an insane spiral of terror.”

The survey takes account of press freedom violations from 1 December 2010 to 30 November 2011.

The agency prepared a questionnaire with 44 main criteria indicative of the state of press freedom, asking questions involving violations that directly affect journalists and netizens. These range from murder to imprisonment as well as power of news media, like censorship and confiscation of newspaper issues.

The survey also measures the level of self-censorship in each region and the freedom in which media can investigate and criticise; financial pressure and legal framework for media are also assessed.

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