Gap is planning to open almost one new store a week in Hong Kong and mainland China over the next six months.

Last weekend Gap opened its third store in Hong Kong at the new shopping mall in Causeway Bay Hysan Place.

Gap's president for Greater China Redmond Yeung told the  South China Morning Post  that he is planning to open 20 more shops across Hong Kong and mainland China, bringing the total number of shops in the region to 45.

Sales in Asia came to a total of US$966 million during the fiscal year of 2011, representing 8% of the Gap's group revenue.

In the U.S., the American apparel group announced in October that it would close 21%, or 189, of its stores in the country, which are suffering from dropping sales.

Yeung said at the Hong Kong flagship store opening late last year that Hong Kong consumers have a strong appetite for Gap's fashion based on the demand level the company has seen from its e-commerce sales.

Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap Inc. International, added: "For over 40 years, Gap has provided American style, celebrated creativity and made a positive difference in the communities where we conduct business.

"We see these same values resonating as strongly with consumers and employees in China as they do in our established markets."

What started out as a way to practice English has become a budding media empire for the strange world of Fauna Shan and her website chinaSMACK.

The site, which launched four years ago, has provided a rare glimpse into Chinese internet forums and the opinions of ordinary citizens to local and world events.

Earlier this year the chinaSMACK team expanded its brand of blogging to Korea and, this week expanded to Indonesia with a new site indoBOOM.

Similar to chinaSMACK, indoBOOM will be updated daily with reactions to local events like the return of a popular singer who spent the past three years in jail for appearing in a sex tape and widespread rumours about Foxconn opening a factory in Indonesia.

Kai Pan, who heads up expansion for the site, said like koreaBANG, indoBOOM started after a reader approached them with the idea of expanding.

And while he says Indonesia may not be as internationally influential as China or Korea, Southeast Asia region is becoming increasingly relevant.

"Ultimately have to decide if we think the expansion holds promise and, more importantly, if the person who wants to start it has the potential to consistently produce content that matches our editorial mission and quality standards," Pan said.

"No one can predict the future but we feel there's a lot of potential for Indonesia."

In addition to their expansion, the site now carries some advertising, which founder Fauna Shan said helps to cover costs, investments, and "some treats for our bloggers."

"With more traffic, there is more advertising income but maybe because we do not actively try to sell advertising, we do not actually make much money for this," she said.

Despite reporting on often sensitive issues in China from police corruption, social unrest and disturbing videos of school yard beatings, they are yet to face the wrath of Chinese internet censors.

"Fortunately, so far we have not had any trouble with authorities," Shan said.

"We try to only report what is already widespread and popular on the Chinese internet. I think this helps us avoid trouble but it is always risky.

"We just read the news and watch social media and feel some things about China or our countries do not receive as much attention from the traditional media."

And Pan suggested further expansion was on the cards.

"We're hoping to make one more announcement later this year but who knows."

China dominated the morning discussions at the second day of luxury marketing summit, currently underway in Phuket.

Chinese luxury consumers are rescuing the west, Steven Altman, managing director, affluent division, IFOP said in his morning presentation on Evolution of luxury consumption.

"But there is still way to go for China to be a mature luxury market," he said. Drawing a stark comparison with Hong Kong, he added mainland Chinese luxury shoppers are far less sophisticated and brand loyal than their Hong Kong counterparts.

According to Altman, brands have to be strong in regional markets to affect local markets. "For China you have to be strong in HK, for Southeast Asia in Singapore and so on."

Magazines are still a strong medium to reach out to the luxury shopper segment, both Altman and the subsequent speaker Michelle Chen (pictured), vice president, marketing, PCD Stores China, said.

Luxury perception is different in China, Chen said. "While in the West brand awareness might come from elders or family members in general, in China it's mainly the media that drives awareness."

Magazine is still the most important channel to get to know the brand, she said adding that people want to know the heritage of the brand and PR is a great way of achieving that. Other than that PCD Stores focuses on search engine marketing to create brand awareness.

Offering deeper insights into the Chinese luxury shopper psyche Chen said while the elder ones would want the headline traditional luxury brands, their kids or the upcoming generation of the affluent shopper prefers rare and niche high end brands.

The Luxury esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Summit 2012, is an exclusive event for top marketers from Asia's leading luxury brands.

Do Do Yeung, managing director and publisher of the newly formed Hearst Corporation, said it will be business as usual as the US giant seeks to bed down its acquisition of Hachette Filipacchi Hong Kong.

Last week US media company Hearst Corporation took ownership of magazine group Hachette Filipacchi Hong Kong, publisher of titles including Elle and Car and Driver .

The Hong Kong deal comes as Hearst Corporation completes its US$920 million takeover of some 100 international titles from Lagardére Group, including six Hachette Filipacchi titles.

Hachette Filipacchi Hong Kong Limited will now be knows as Hearst Magazines Hong Kong Limited with immediate effect.

Do Do Yeung, managing director of Hachette Filipacchi Hong Kong, described Hearst as one of the most respected media companies in the world.

Yeung told esb电竞数据投注电脑版 there would be little changes to the local operation and stressed its new shareholder was a strong believer in magazines.

“This is a company that has the highest possible standards of editorial quality and has shown that it has a strong belief in a bright future for the magazine business here in Hong Kong and across the globe,” she added.

The Hong Kong public relations industry has achieved annual billings of HK$1.33 billion but PR industry group CPRFHK expects this to grow in 2011.

Results of the latest Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong Benchmark Study, show a recovery in professional fees from the pre-recession 2008 Survey level - with the median fee level rising by about one-third.

The industry body estimated total annual billings for Hong Kong PR industry are approximately HK$1.33 billion with some 2000 staff working in the sector serving an estimated 2865 corporate and institutional clients

Simeon Mellalieu, chairman of CPRFHK and general manager of Ketchum Hong Kong, said companies will increasingly turning to PR to achieve their objectives in 2011, but at a moderate and steady rate.

"Whilst it is good to see fee revenues increasing across the PR agency sector, profitability is clearly being squeezed from many different directions," he said.

"To ensure sustainable business growth, it is essential that all agencies manage client budgets transparently and responsibly and clearly demonstrate the value of their work in a quantifiable way."

The majority of firms showed "cautious optimism" that billings will rise in 2011, helped by strong growth in China but moderated by tight marketing budgets among multinational corporations recovering from the financial crisis.

Revenue from the financial and professional services sector nearly doubled on a percentage basis since 2008, while revenue from the technology sector decreased by around half.

Consumer marketing (35%), corporate communications (25%) and financial communications (15%) were identified by respondents as generating the highest percentage of the public relations consultancies' fees, with just 5% each reporting that events and public affairs constituted the highest percentage of their revenue.

The Study, conducted among 29 CPRFHK member and non-member firms, captures a comprehensive snapshot of industry practices and trends in the utilization of public relations firms.

Start Creative has hired UK creative Cally Williams as general manager of its Hong Kong operations, a new role for the agency.

Cally joins Start from the UK with 20 years' integrated marketing experience.

Her most recent role was new business director at Cubo Creative, where she built successful relationships with Superdrug (part of the AS Watson Group), and Pernod Ricard International pillar brands Chivas Regal, Jameson's and Jacob's Creek, among others.

As general manager, she will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency, working alongside managing director Jonathan Cummings and creative director Mike Dorrian.

She joins recent appointments including creatives Iain Richardson and Steve Foulds and account directors Rachel Graham and Stephanie Cheng.

After launching digital editions for Japan, India and Mainland China, The Wall Street Journal Asia has rolled out a dedicated portal for Hong Kong users.

A dedicated will feature business, financial and lifestyle news relevant to those living and working in Hong Kong. A video and a Hong Kong-focused finance blog called Exchange will also form part of its offering.

Christine Brendle, publisher of The Wall Street Journal Asia and managing director of Dow Jones & Company in Asia Pacific, said the move builds on its strategy to localise and digitise content in Asia Pacific.

"Readers are turning to our digital offerings in ever-greater numbers in the region and this provides advertisers with more opportunities to connect with this highly influential, affluent and mobile audience,” she added.

The Journal's move comes just weeks after The Economist announced local advertising editions for Hong Kong and Singapore markets in a bid to grow its local advertising revenue.

A positive employment outlook has driven consumer confidence to its highest point in two years, fueling a new wave of discretionary spending across the city.

Consumer confidence has increased 33 points in since March 2009, making Hong Kong a significant contributor to buoyant consumer confidence levels across Asia.

The findings, part of Nielsen's Global Consumer Confidence Survey, show Asia is the world's most confident region, with an index of 98 points. Nine of the top 10 most confident national hail from Asia Pacific countries.

Locally, a healthy employment outlook and a drop in unemployment to 4.2% are key factors behind the result.

Nielsen's survey also shows 78% of Hong Kong consumers believe they are no longer in a recession - a 10 point improvement on the past 12 months.

Oliver Rust (pictured), managing director of The Nielsen Company Hong Kong, said the result also demonstrates the resilience of Hong Kong consumers to adapt to the recovering local economy. But while concerns about the economy are fading, a rising concern over health and a work/life balance has emerged.

"Consumers now value the quality of their personal lives more when they no longer need to worry about they jobs," Rust said.

"The increase of food prices is now a key concern," he said. "Especially with the dramatic increase in raw material prices across the region."

Consistent with the overall willingness to spend on discretionary items, Hong Kong consumers are spending more on consumer durables as well as overseas travel.

Hill & Knowlton has been retained by the Hong Kong government's InvestHK body to promote the city as a global financial and asset management hub.

Hill & Knowlton's London office will provide PR support for a global campaign, which will target financial services companies and executives. Part of the agency's brief will include PR support in the lead up to a finance conference in London on 16 November followed by a conference in New York in the spring.

The account will be managed by Ben Curson, head of financial and professional services at Hill & Knowlton, which said Hong Kong is already seen as a leading international centre and a gateway to China.

"Given the shifting of economic and financial gravity to the East, Hong Kong is a natural home for financial services businesses looking to locate in Asia."

The news comes as Invest Hong Kong releases fresh data about the number of overseas and Mainland Chinese companies running business operations in Hong Kong, up 2.6% in the past year to 6,561 companies.

Simon Galpin (pictured), director-general of Investment Promotion, said in the wake of the global financial crisis, Hong Kong continues to be an attractive city for these companies to base their operations in this part of Asia.

Of the companies surveyed, 20% indicated they may expand their businesses in Hong Kong in the next three years either by increasing staff, expanding the scope of business functions or increasing office size.

Cindy Gan, former director of Ogilvy PR's corporate and financial practice, has joined Waggener Edstrom as GM of its China operations.

Based in Beijing, Gan will work with WE teams across China, overseeing its technology, corporate, healthcare and consumer teams.

She brings more than 15 years of experience in communications in Asia, having worked in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In particular Gan brings extensive public sector experience from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Singapore International Foundation.

"Her previous work in China, coupled with her diplomacy and foreign service experience, has equipped her with excellent skills that our clients will find invaluable," David Ko, WE executive vice president Asia Pacific, said.

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