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.

In 2011, the mainland’s digital ad spend exceeded that of print; a year later, the amount exceeded every other region as well as the global average digital ad spend – taking up more than 30% of the country’s advertising market.

Soon, it is expected to surpass TV spending, which, as of 2012, was only 3% higher, according to iClick’s latest research.

But these figures are of little surprise considering the current internet penetration is wavering at 40% in a nation of more than one billion people: the ad spend in the car industry, for example, grew by 18.5% month-on-month in February 2012, while the dairy product segment rose by 11.9% month-on-month in June 2012.

“The advent of the internet, a brand new medium, has completely transformed the landscape of the advertising industry. This has resulted in a multitude of both opportunities and also challenges for all businesses,” said Sammy Hsieh, CEO and co-founder of iClick.

“Today, the internet is an integral part of our everyday lives; the fact that we spend more time online compared to any other forms of traditional media, signals our entry into the third phase of development.”

Despite the popularity of digital, marketers still have a tight grip on their pockets.

With a limited budget and fierce competition, they are now refocusing their strategy from branding to campaigns that deliver quantifiable results, which explains the currently popularity of search and display ads. These two formats make up more than 80% of total digital ad market share in the country.

Mobile and online video – which iClick foresees to be the TV equivalent of the future – are also platforms to look out for: smartphone penetration is expected to grow to 102.7% in 2013 while the number of online video users is expected to see a rise to 92.3%, cited iClick.

Estée Lauder topped the charts as most digitally active by expanding its platforms from three to six, promoting sampling campaigns with fan reviews as well as developing an optimised local search that outperforms all other brands on Chinese search engine, according to the latest L2 Excerpt, Digital IQ Index: China Beauty Supplement.

Lancôme falls into second place with a successful BBS forum, a popular TVC that outperformed its global edition and its social media efforts tapping into female-dominated platforms Meilisho and Mogujie.

The report also found that at least half of the high-end beauty and lifestyle brands have e-commerce, with Bobbi Brown and Shiseido joining last year with local platforms that show prices in RMB, user review ratings, live chat and offer free shipping with purchases over a certain amount.

The next "it" service the industry, the report suggests, would allow customers choose samples during check out, while some brands like Clarins and SK-II have started their m-commerce sites.

The report looks at the brands’ activity on various venues on mobile platforms, social media, digital marketing and websites.

CNBC has launched a regional campaign to promote its coverage of the US elections and China's transition in a bid to raise awareness of its morning programme.

Created in-house, the campaign titled "Their Call, Your Money" promotes CNBC's flagship programme, Squawk Box.

Featuring the teams of Squawk Box Asia (Martin Soong, Lisa Oake and Bernie Lo), and Squawk Box U.S (Andrew Ross Sorkin, Becky Quick and Joe Kernen), the ad focuses on perhaps the two of the biggest decisions happening this month and how those decisions will affect Asia Pacific.

The campaign features online and TV ads across the network accompanied by print ads running in the Wall Street Journal Asia, Business Times, South China Morning Post, Singapore Straits Times and The Edge. The campaign also runs across the arrival and departure lounges in Hong Kong. The four week campaign will run until the end of November 2012.

Jacqueline Lam, vice president of marketing and distribution, CNBC in Asia Pacific said the campaign is designed to re-enforce its position in the marketplace and promote content to new and existing viewers regionally.

According to CNBC, it is distributed to over 80 million households across Asia Pacific.

Singapore has surpassed Hong Kong as the destination in Asia Pacific most frequently travelled to for business in the first half of this year, according to an Accor survey.

Singapore was the most visited destination for travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India, the second annual Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveller Research showed.

Inversely, Singaporeans identified Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia as their top three destinations travelled to for business, while volumes increased 60% in the first half of the year.

Evan Lewis, vice president of communications at Accor Asia Pacific, said business travellers have affirmed Singapore as the top destination in the region, and the trend is expected to continue in the next half of 2012.

"The findings underscore Singapore's importance as a business gateway to Southeast Asia."

Thailand also emerged as another key business destination, garnering one of the top three spots from travellers in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, China, and Indonesia.

The Accor Asia Pacific Business Traveller Research interviewed over 2,500 respondents from nine countries in the region.

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.

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