HONG KONG student Katie Kwan has won a top award in the British Young Business Writer of the Year competition. The competition, now in its sixth year, is open to undergraduates and sixth-formers throughout Britain and is designed to promote quality writing among students. Katie, 18, received one of the three ''highly commended'' awards in the sixth form section for her 1,000-word profile on how entrepreneurs operate in Hong Kong. Her essay describes how small retailers survive in Hong Kong, using an example of her friend's small business as an illustration. ''For instance, TV advertising is too expensive for small retailers, so they would have a joint advertising effort with the shopping centre they are in,'' she said. Katie is no stranger to competition writing. Three years ago in Hong Kong she was runner-up in the territory's round of the Royal Commonwealth Essay competition. She was also highly recommended in the same competition when a Form Two student. After graduating from Marymount Secondary School two years ago, Katie enrolled at exclusive Cheltenham Ladies College in Britain. ''I like the academic environment there, and their educational system is much the same as Hong Kong,'' she said. Katie will enter Oxford University in October, and major in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). She plans to pursue a career in law or communication, and she has also expressed an interest in journalism. After graduation she plans to either further her education by studying a law degree, or go back to Hong Kong to work. She is confident about Hong Kong's future. ''I don't think the 1997 factor will have much effect on my decision,'' she said. The award was sponsored by international law firm Clifford Chance, and was organised by the City University Business School and supported by the Financial Times newspaper. Winners receive cash prizes totalling GBP3,600 (about HK$42,552). Katie said she planned to spend her winnings on books.