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Simeon Mellalieu

PR billings top $1.3 billion in Hong Kong

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.

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