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China's yuppies target of expensive publication


CHINA'S first monthly, colour, glossy magazine for men will be launched on August 1 by a subsidiary of the Hongkong-based publishers, Paramount Printing Group.

Modern, will be an upmarket lifestyle magazine for southern China's yuppies, according to Paramount's chief executive officer, Albert Cheng King-hon.

The cover price should set the magazine apart from anything else on offer on the mainland.

Most magazines sell for one yuan (HK$1.30) but Modern will retail for 15 yuan.

''The pricing policy is deliberate,'' said Mr Cheng, who is also president and editor-in-chief of Paramount's subsidiary company, Capital Communications.

''Our original intention was to sell copies at 20 yuan each, but we decided this was just too much. Even so, at 15 yuan, the price is intended to lift this product into the luxury purchase category,'' he said.


''The cover price reflects three main considerations. The production costs are higher than normal for the Chinese market because we will be using full colour on high quality art paper,'' he said.

''We also want to avoid selling too cheaply. Our target is people for whom 15 yuan doesn't matter.

''Perhaps, most importantly of all however, we feel the high price guarantees advertisers they will be reaching their high-spending target audience,'' Mr Cheng said.

Modern will feature articles on a broad range of topics, according to Mr Cheng.


The launch issue will lead off with the financial success stories of Chinese immigrants to Hongkong and a profile of the female deputy mayor of Guangzhou.

Fashion, interior design and finance will also feature strongly.


''The content is going to be a bit like Playboy or Esquire but obviously without the nude pictures,'' he said.

Capital's initial investment is $6 million and its partner in the 50-50 joint venture is the Guangzhou Artists' Guild, which is owned by the Guangzhou government's Cultural Department.

The project is a re-launch of an existing magazine, Artist.


''China remains mainly closed to foreign investment in new media, so this collaboration in a re-launch is a good way of gaining access to the potentially huge magazine market there,'' Mr Cheng said.

He did not envisage any difficulties over the contents, for two reasons: the topics covered would not be addressing political issues and the Chinese partner, effectively a government organisation, had editorial control.

The 50,000 launch copies will be printed at Artist's existing production plant in Guangzhou but the concept and design work will be done in Hongkong.


Initially, the distribution will focus on Guangdong but, if the recipe proves to the taste of the readers, the second phase should see the print run increasing in stages.

''The estimated optimum circulation is 100,000 copies but spread over a larger distribution area,'' Mr Cheng said.

The longer term strategic purpose behind Capital's commitment was to smooth the way for the entry of a Chinese-language edition of the American business magazine, Forbes.

The Hongkong version, Forbes-Zibenjia, is already available in China but only on a subscription basis.

The Chinese edition would closely mirror the Hongkong version with only minor amendments.

''We are just waiting for final approval to circulate widely in China but there is no way of knowing when this might be granted. It could be tomorrow, next week, or not at all,'' he said.