GroupM sticks with 9% growth forecast for HK despite ongoing Occupy Central protests

Occupy CentralHong Kong will retain its crown as the world’s biggest advertising market per person for now, despite the ongoing disruptions caused by the Occupy Central protests in the city, a senior media executive has said.

“Hong Kong will remain the world’s highest per-capita ad market at around US$1,000 per person this year and the overall market is still set to grow nine per cent to $7.8 billion in 2014,” Matthew Wigham, Asia Pacific head of trading for MediaCom, told Mumbrella today.

“There is no change in our GroupM annual forecasts at present,” he said.

His comments come on the morning that police moved in to remove barriers erected by pro-democracy demonstrators a fortnight ago. At the time of publication, protesters were building new barricades.

Wigham noted that the media market has been relatively unscathed locally and across Northeast Asia with the “no real revenue declines” caused by advertisers pulling campaigns in the short to mid-term as a result of the Occupy central movement.

However, Wigham said that if the protesters return to the streets in larger numbers for much longer, media markets could start to decline.

“With the younger Hong Kong generation getting a taste for activism, it will be interesting to see what effect the protest will have over a longer period, if they’re set to return [to the streets],” he said. “And, with Beijing tightening its control on the city, how this could start to affect advertisers’ longer term ambitions and activity in the market.”

Locally, the businesses most affected by the protests have been luxury retailers in the busy shopping period of Golden Week. “The major damage for the year has already been done,” David Ko of Hong Kong digital agency The Daylight Partnership told Mumbrella just over a week ago.


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