1 Oct 2002
The Spirit Of Enterprise(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 10,2002)
Vol 10, 2002
|The TDC's cyber marketplace at www.hkenterprise.com offers registered members access to a powerful search engine, comprehensive categorization of products and services and information from TDC's enormous database.|
HONG Kong, 1967. The first issue of Hong Kong Enterprise was published in October of that year. It was a bold move for the newly formed Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) to launch a major publishing venture. The Department of Trade and Commerce had been printing the smaller Hong Kong Trade Bulletin since 1955, but this was the first attempt at producing an international-standard magazine.
The launch was deliberately set to coincide with the Hong Kong Festival of Fashions and Hong Kong Week, a practice the TDC continues today: the use of magazines to cross-promote trade events.
The polyglot cover of the 192-page launch issue was simple and stark. Against a black background, a white circle emblazoned with the word "enterprise" in eight languages, as magnified by a fish-eye lens, stated its purpose boldly. Inside were diverse articles, covering everything from couture and pearls to Hong Kong's fresh water supply and even colour photographs of the birds of Hong Kong. Advertisers numbered 168.
Then TDC chairman Sir Sik Nin Chau summed up the duty of the new magazine in the inaugural editorial, headlined "Enterprise - the Spirit of Hong Kong". The magazine was to highlight the entrepreneurship of manufacturers and merchants and "to help meet the new challenges being thrust upon us" by the changing global marketplace, the chairman wrote, and he hoped it "would win new friends for Hong Kong".
Three-and-a-half decades later, Hong Kong Enterprise has more than fulfilled its original mission. Not only is it a venerable publishing success (and Asia's premier trade publication for sourcing products of all descriptions), it is a benchmark of the TDC's success in promoting Hong Kong trade around the world. The magazine is the flagship of the TDC's specialist trade publications, which now involve 15 titles.
"This is more than just a celebration of 35 years of Hong Kong Enterprise," observes Henry Ng, TDC's senior publications manager. "It is also about the TDC doing something good for Hong Kong for the past 35 years.
"Enterprise is a sourcing guide you can rely on, and for Hong Kong SMEs it is still the most effective marketing tool."
This view is proved true by comments from the magazine's core readers - buyers from around the world.
"If I could only receive one magazine from the Orient in which to look for new products, I would choose Hong Kong Enterprise," says Gary Mason, purchasing director of Toronto-based Superex Canada Ltd.
"With the large number of advertisements, sectioned into many different categories, I have never gone through an edition without finding a few new things to inquire more information on."
Targeted marketing is not the only advantage that has been gained from exposure in the magazine. Many Hong Kong companies have grown from small enterprises to medium or large companies with worldwide reputations as a result of appearing in it.
An advertiser since the first issue, sales director Steven Fong of Kin Hip Metal & Plastic Fty Ltd, known for its Kinox-brand kitchenware, remembers the deluge of mail generated by advertising in Hong Kong Enterprise.
"In the early days, when we were not so well known, we received bundles of airmail from Europe and the US, from everywhere. There was no telex then, and we started from there. Now we are well established and we have been in the magazine for so long we can't afford to disappear!" says Fong.
Today's Hong Kong Enterprise offers a complete package for its advertisers: the magazine is not only a hefty periodical, it also has an online version.
Free of charge for readers, the Web site offers registered members access to a powerful search engine, comprehensive categorization of products and services and information from TDC's enormous database of company and product contacts. The new-look www.hkenterprise.com is more user-friendly. Members can customize the homepage by typing in personal preferences, resulting in quicker access to preferred categories or information.
"The Internet and print versions of Hong Kong Enterprise are not competitors, they complement each other," says the TDC's Ng. "We have been expanding our services to include an online service so that buyers can search quickly and efficiently for information through the Internet in tandem with the hard copy."
Over the years the original Hong Kong Enterprise has spun off 15 specialist titles. The first to appear were Hong Kong Apparel and Hong Kong Toys in 1969, featuring two of Hong Kong's traditionally strong industries. More titles came thick and fast during the 1980s and 1990s when Saul Lockhart was managing editor of TDC magazines.
"At the time everyone in publishing was trying to find a niche," recalls Lockhart. "Hong Kong Enterprise couldn't fit everything in. The trade shows kept increasing, and so did demand for specialist magazines. So we decided to do Household, Jewellery Collection, Electronics, Optical, Leather Goods & Bags - once started, it's hard to stop."
The quest to meet the challenges created by a changing global marketplace has been a guiding principle for Hong Kong Enterprise since the beginning.
WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG
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