HGC taps Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong to promote new identity

After selling for US$1.9 billion to I Squared Capital, HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC), formerly Hutchison Global Communications Limited owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, new CEO Andrew Kwok explained Marketing the reasons behind the telecom sponsoring one of the toughest sports events in the world - "Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong", happening this month right after its rebrand.

Hong Kong might not be famous for its water games, but many would recall professional windsurfer Lee Lai Shan winning the windsurfing gold at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Next week, the 44-year-old history sailing competition Volvo Ocean Race will stage a stopover of the race in Hong Kong for the first time while HGC will be the presenting sponsor of the inaugural event.

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As one of the host cities for the race, Hong Kong will stage a race festival from 17-31 January at Kai Tak Runway Park. Open to the public free of charge, the festival will include sailing races and activities, concerts, entertainment, exhibitions, and corporate hospitality.

The boats are expected to arrive in Victoria Harbour from 20 January and will embark on a series of competitions and in-port races in local waters.

As an HGC veteran, Andrew Kwok, who joined the company over a decade ago, sees the two parties share the same vision and philosophy: "We both believe people can reach their full potential and continue to scale new heights".

HGC will support the Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong by sponsoring a host of entertainment performances and activities in the public race festival at Kai Tak Runway Park.

As part of its rebranding, HGC plans to initiate a series of marketing campaigns, starting with its role as sole Hong Kong presenting sponsor for the race.

Kwok sees this as an opportunity beyond financials, "the sponsorship is not purely about business, but more of social responsibility and brand building."

In addition to inviting famous local singers Sammi Cheng, Gin Lee and Ellen Loo to perform, HGC is sponsoring a performance of traditional Chinese Opera and will arrange free transportation for the elderly to watch the show.

HGC also supports the upcoming MTGamer-Glory Cup Spring Tournament 2018 and will broadcast matches of League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, FIFA 18, Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, which attracts lots of Asia eSports players to join the tournament.

When asked how to promote the new identity, "we don't intend to deliver a lengthy speech on stage talking about HGC's products or services, as event goers just want to enjoy the race and performance, and no one would pay attention to your speech," he jokingly said.

But due to the non-disclosure agreement, the top executive declined to reveal the sponsorship figure.

Kwok said he has also invited its business partners and counterparts from overseas to participate in the race.

The ads of Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong can be seen at MTR ads, bus shelters and massive billboard at Eastern Harbor Tunnel as well as social media channels.