Hong Kong lawmaker Priscilla Leung has urged for the city’s Education Bureau to set up a team of online influencers to convey the "correct message" that Hong Kong was never a British colony.

At a meeting of the Legislative Council’s education panel on 5 July 2022, Leung, who spoke as the panel chairman, referred to the recent controversy surrounding how new textbooks for the upper secondary subject of citizenship and social development, are mentioning that the territory was never a British colony but that the British “only exercised colonial rule” in Hong Kong.

Leung, a Legco member representing the Election Committee constituency and a lawyer by training, recalled in the meeting that the treaties that ceded the territory to Britain close to two centuries ago are totally unfair and are not recognised by China or under international law, “ 係戰爭開始, 歸於和平, 和平係 '一國兩制’, 呢樣嘢點令學生感受到成個過程係好重要 ( It all started because of the war, and it ended in peace, and peace means ‘one country two systems’, it is important for students to know).”

However, she said that she has seen a lot of netizens appeared to be shocked by the amendments and have been smearing those who she believed were telling the truth, accusing the authorities of rewriting history. Therefore, Leung urged the bureau to invest in a team of influencers to convey the “correct knowledge, “Too many teenagers only look at what’s on the you have an online team of influencers to spread correct knowledge on the internet?” Leung asked in the panel.

Secretary for Education Christine Choi responded that the bureau does not have enough resources to set up such a team, but added it works towards enhancing students’ information literacy so that they can do fact checking and separate right from wrong.

Current state of influencer marketing in HK

Influencer marketing as a trend has really picked up in recent times in Hong Kong, with many brands investing in celebrity or influencer partnerships to promote their products. According to an article by VS Media, Hongkongers are open to consuming content produced by influencers as long as it is entertaining. VS Media conducted the survey in July 2021, interviewing 309 Hong Kong residents aged between 18 and 45 via online questionnaires. The survey unveiled that 78% did not mind content produced by influencers as long as it was entertaining. Also, 73% trusted influencers' recommendations or reviews. When it came to the credibility of influencers, the survey also unveiled that 77% of respondents trusted influencers' product and service recommendations than those from celebrities.

Another report by AnyMind group highlighted that Instagram was the most-used social media platform by influencers in Hong Kong with a share of 53.77%, followed by Facebook (24.58%) and YouTube (20.72%). Only less than 1% of influencers leverage Twitter to engage the audience. Instagram is mainly used by nano-influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers) and micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers) due to its ability to cater to those starting out and aiding them in growing their influence. Moreover, plenty of nano-influencers also leverage Facebook to curate content, but only a handful of micro-influencers use it.

However, while clients are aware of the power of influencers, more than one-third of advertisers in Hong Kong shared that the quality of influencers is one of their major challenges in marketing. Nonetheless, many also have an increased ad budget this year for such collaborations. According to the Advertising Spending Projections 2022 co-created by the Hong Kong Advertisers Association and Nielsen, advertisers highlighted some key challenges in marketing as their top concerns. This includes ROI (50%), cross-platform effectiveness (43%), data management (36%), the quality of influencers (35%) and lack of funding (32%).

(photo courtesy: Legco's education panel )

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