Slope advertising idea on the slide as interest in pilot scheme subsides

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 February, 2003, 12:00am

A government-backed initiative to raise cash by selling advertising space on Hong Kong's many slopes appears to have slid into trouble.

Eight months after the tenancy for a slope in Lung Cheung Road in Kowloon - one of two in a pilot scheme to test the market - expired in June last year, there has been no new taker.

Officials have put the tendering process on hold and are now reviewing the whole scheme.

The government's aim was to raise revenue by giving private firms control of the slopes so they could sell advertising space.

But officials have refused to say what financial targets have been set for the scheme or how many adverts - apart from government promotions - have been sold.

A spokesman for the Lands Department said: 'The tenure of the Lung Cheung Road site is being renewed on a quarterly basis. At present we are merely reviewing the tenancy of the site since the original tenure has expired . . . A review of the whole pilot scheme will be conducted later.'

The spokesman declined to disclose further details.

'We have not yet decided whether the existing tenancy will be continued or any re-tendering exercise will proceed at the present stage,' he said.

A source said an inter-departmental working group, led by the Lands Department, was reviewing whether the scheme was viable.

He said the authority was not satisfied with the results of the Lung Cheung Road project and was studying the progress of the Lion Rock Tunnel site - a replacement site for one of the two originally identified for the scheme.

The Lion Rock Tunnel site was brought on line last March and will last for five years.

The source said that because of the poor response at the Lung Cheung Road site, government adverts had to be used.

But a Lands Department spokesman said there was a provision in the tenancy agreement entitling government to make free use of some slope space.

No one from Ad-Prom Specialty Ltd - the tenant of the Lung Cheung Road site - was available for comment.

Critics have claimed the adverts would distract motorists and spoil the environment.