Leung Man-tao, a Hong Kong-based writer and cultural critic, decided last year to spend more time north of the border to write columns for mainland publications and give lectures in the hope of reaching a wider audience. The spectacular success of his columns and books with mainlanders proves he made the right choice. Leung is among a recent batch of Hong Kong writers and cultural personalities who have successfully staked out new turf on the mainland. Armed with overseas exposure and cosmopolitan life experience, they are helping the mainland's rising social class learn about the metropolitan lifestyle to which they aspire. The three books Leung published on the mainland this year, which compiled his commentaries, prose and film and music reviews, have become best-sellers, with sales of 360,000 - an inconceivable tally in Hong Kong, where it is a pleasant surprise to sell more than 1,000 copies. Leung, formerly director of Commercial Radio's Channel One, is a talk-show host with Phoenix TV, which broadcasts on the mainland. Apart from making a modest fortune writing articles for mainland publications, Leung and other Hong Kong writers who earn fame north of the border also succeed in 'exporting' Hong Kong's values and cosmopolitan experience to the mainland. Leung, who received his secondary education in Taiwan and graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, started contributing to Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily in 2003 and became a columnist in Nanfang Weekend in 2006. He also became a popular guest speaker at universities, libraries and even government departments. 'The rate for giving talks ranges from several thousand yuan to tens of thousands, which is unimaginable in Hong Kong. If you make a name on the mainland, the income from publishing books and writing columns is better than what you get in Hong Kong.' Leung, 38, said Hong Kong writers, who are exposed to such Western values as liberty and the rule of law, had a unique edge over their mainland counterparts. 'For instance, I can look at matters from perspectives that mainland writers are not aware of. I hope to bring the perspectives and values treasured in Hong Kong to mainland readers through my commentaries in mainland newspapers.' Like Leung, Hong Kong columnist and film critic Bono Lee Chiu-hing has been spending most of his time in Beijing, where he has been working as a creative director for Modern Media since 2005. He said the mainland's economic boom, which led to the rise of a new social class looking for a new lifestyle, had opened the doors to many Hong Kong writers. As well as his role at Modern Media, recently listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Lee is author of the popular Chic China Chic, a collection of articles on modern Chinese culture published last year. While the standard of living in major mainland cities has improved dramatically, Lee said mainland media needed writers who had first-hand cosmopolitan experience to write about and analyse the new urban lifestyle that most mainlanders were not familiar with. Lee began contributing to mainland publications such as Southern Metropolis Daily in the early 2000s, and eventually moved to Beijing in 2005 and joined Modern Media. Other cultural critics with international experience making a name on the mainland include food critic, artist and writer Craig Au Yeung, cultural critic Michael Lam, who spends most of his time in Paris, and Tong Ching-siu, an expert on Japanese pop culture. Lee said their writing came from their life experience, which was not something that could be faked by quoting from books. 'As long as mainlanders have curiosity and aspiration for a cosmopolitan lifestyle, Hong Kong writers still have an edge. Their points of view, developed from a metropolitan background, will last,' Lee said. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, is another Hong Kong writer who made his name among mainland readers. He has been writing a column called 'New Prince' in Nanfang Personage Weekly since early last year. The weekly is published by the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Media Group, which also publishes Nanfang Daily. His column focuses on leadership skills and spin-doctoring of political leaders in Western countries, the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is similar to his column in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper, and his books published in Hong Kong. Choy said his column was one of the most popular in the magazine and the payment was comparable to Hong Kong. 'But what is more important is the opportunity to promote values such as democracy, transparency and good governance through my columns in mainland media.' Last year, Choy praised Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, the Democratic Progressive Party's candidate in the Taiwanese presidential election, for his speech admitting his election failure. 'I was impressed that that article was given a go-ahead by the magazine even though it praised a figure of the DPP, which was branded as pro-independence by Beijing.'