After 18 years, Penthouse put to bed for the last time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am

The Chinese-language edition of Penthouse, once the dominant 'adult' publication in Hong Kong, has folded after 18 years, making the March issue its last.

Chief editor Ringo Kwan Kwok-fai said yesterday the magazine's declining circulation in Hong Kong and the fact that parent Penthouse in the US had filed for bankruptcy protection had made closure inevitable.

About 10 employees have been made redundant.

'There is intense competition in the [Hong Kong] market,' said Mr Kwan, who had served in his post for 16 months.

'Circulation is no longer what it used to be.

'We didn't have time to announce the closure in the March issue because it was printed before we were told the magazine would fold.'

He said an internet company in the US was in the process of taking over the parent English magazine with the intention of turning it into a non-pornographic, mainstream publication.

The Chinese-language Penthouse - published by South China Media and sold for $45 - enjoyed the biggest circulation in the adult magazine market, selling 50,000 copies a month in the early 1990s.

Mr Kwan declined to give the latest circulation figure.

Playboy, its one-time Chinese-language rival, folded 10 years ago, making Penthouse the only international adult magazine sold in Hong Kong.

While both featured mainly Asian and especially Hong Kong models, Penthouse pictures were more explicit, often involving suggestive lesbianism and light bondage. It also had been running a popular guide to Macau nightclubs, with details and semi-nude pictures of hostesses.