Why Fashion Magazines Keep Launching Hong Kong Editions


Tatler might seem like an unusual place to look for differences between Hong Kong and mainland China but the two editions reveal more about each region than first meets the eye. Each edition of the high society magazine operates independently of the other, curating content that appeals to the distinct demographic it aims to serve.

A recent cover of the Hong Kong edition of the title features chef Vicky Cheng looking confident and relaxed in a Zegna suit, flexing an impressive Omega watch. On the corresponding issue of Shangliu Tatler however, which is available to readers just across the border in mainland China, the spotlight is on Zhang Xiaohui (aka Teresa Cheung Siu-wai), a 60-year-old actress leaning atop a marble table wearing Brunello Cucinelli, Fred jewellery and a massive grin.

Tatler is not alone in opening a separate edition for the semi-autonomous city and special administrative region of China. Hong Kong has dedicated print versions of Vogue, Vogue Man, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Esquire and digital versions of Madame Figaro and L’Officiel among others. The latter launched just six months ago and is planning to make its print debut later this year.

The April cover of the Hong Kong edition of Tatler (L) features chef Vicky Cheng; the April edition of Shangliu Tatler for mainland China (R) features actress Zhang Xiaohui, also known as Teresa Cheung Siu.
The April cover of the Hong Kong edition of Tatler (L) features chef Vicky Cheng; the April edition of Shangliu Tatler for mainland China (R) features actress Zhang Xiaohui, also known as Teresa Cheung Siu-wai. (Tatler HK and Shangliu Tatler)

“There is a long history of localised international fashion titles in Hong Kong — that hasn’t changed — and indeed new launches signal the continued importance of the area as a luxury fashion capital both from a business and cultural perspective,” said Tiffany Lam, vice president of marketing and communications at luxury retailer Lane Crawford, which is headquartered in the city and has several branches in the mainland.

The mood in Hong Kong is much brighter now than it was at the height of political turmoil five years ago when mass pro-democracy protests hit the economy hard by deterring inbound tourism and disrupting residents’ routines. The city’s troubles are far from over but, by February of this year, retail sales had risen for the 15th straight month, government data showed.

“People still look to Hong Kong as this international city within the landscape of bigger first-tier markets in the China and East Asia region,” said Zaneta Cheng, editor-in-chief of local magazine Legend. “So I still believe in the importance of it. I understand there is uncertainty given the last five years, but I think its resilient and bouncing back.”

Hong Kong’s recent economic recovery has helped it attract high-profile events like Louis Vuitton’s starry extravaganza last November and, more recently, local editions of Art Basel and ComplexCon, events which encourage the return of tourists. Chanel just announced it plans to restage its latest cruise show in the city later this year. New and newly renovated stores like Hermès at Causeway Bay and Manolo Blahnik’s expansion are further evidence that the city has turned a corner.

According to Federica Levato, senior partner at consultancy Bain & Company, the city’s personal luxury goods…



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