Hong Kong rebranding overtures rebuffed by global PR firms

FPI / September 25, 2019


The Hong Kong government was essentially told to get lost in its bid to rebuild its image amid ongoing massive pro-democracy protests.

Honk Kong leader Carrie Lam. / Wikimedia Commons

All of the public relations companies government officials approached have thus far declined to help in what Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said was the “relaunching of Hong Kong.”

Lam said in remarks to a group of supporters that she had approached eight global PR firms, according to a transcript of a Sept. 12 meeting published by Reuters.

“But unfortunately, four immediately declined because that would be a detriment to their reputation to support the Hong Kong [Special Administrative Region] government now, and two subsequently also turned away a request for meetings,” Lam said.

Security correspondent Bill Gertz noted that the international target of Hong Kong’s PR campaign “was to include foreign business people, investors, entrepreneurs, professionals, opinion leaders, think tanks, government officials, politicians and high-income leisure and business travelers,” according to the Washington Times

Key U.S. target markets included the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington.

In a response to an inquiry from The Guardian, the Hong Kong government’s information services department said: “The quotation exercise lapsed as no bid was received by the close of the quotation period.”

The government said it “has no immediate plan to conduct a procurement exercise of a similar nature.”

Lam had confirmed the government had approached PR companies but had been advised that “the time is not right” to rebuild the image of Hong Kong.

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