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4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

The approval by China’s State Council for the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect three months ago on August 16 is the latest step implemented by the Chinese government to further liberalize mainland markets.  The long awaited stock trading link which started a three-week system test in October is likely to go live as early as November 21.  Another test of global investors’ appetite for Chinese shares, the new tie-up and its predecessor – the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Connect which was launched in late 2014, are currently the only direct accesses for international investment in China’s stock markets.

4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

Once the link goes live, it will allow international investors to trade 880 Shenzhen listed stocks while mainland investors will be allowed to trade 417 Hong Kong stocks.  For Hong Kong, this approval may bring bullish momentum for the mid- and small-cap stocks as the Chinese investors will be attracted by their low valuation.  Presently, there are more than half of the stocks listed in Hong Kong backed by Chinese capital and it is expected that more from the Southern mainland will flow into Hong Kong.  In comparison with Shanghai which has majority of the listed companies being state-owned and banks, Shenzhen is the listing venue of choice for technology and start-ups firms that are serving China’ exploding consumer market. The new trade link will unlock access to a new territory of Chinese tech stocks that global investors previously weren’t able to get into easily. For Hong Kong-listed companies that are seeking more Chinese investment, this opens up another avenue for attracting more investment capital.

For marketers, PR practitioners and communicators, in particularly the investor relations (IR) professionals in Hong Kong, this has a key implication –  they should create and distribute more relevant content and news releases regularly to attract eyeballs and garner Chinese investors’ interests.  They should actively reach out to journalists and media in mainland China with interesting and newsworthy story ideas with one main objective, i.e. to have the media re-tell their stories to the Chinese audiences.  With a well-planned communication strategy, investors will be knocking on their doors in no time.  So, here are four things they should take note:

1. Start reaching out to Chinese financial and investment media.

For IR professionals, they may not thoroughly in tune with the investment climate in mainland China and have little clue on who are actively shopping for investment projects. They can, however, make the investors become more familiar with their companies by feeding newsworthy stories to key and influential financial media outlets in mainland China.

[Tweet “Use a newswire provider to attract investors by feeding newsworthy stories to key influential Chinese financial media outlets”]

By using a newswire provider like PR Newswire, corporate news stories will be distributed simultaneously to hundreds or even thousands of media outlets if releases are distributed to multiple geographical locations. A credible newswire partner will expand your media coverage in mainland China and amplify your messages via their local distribution networks that cover print (newspaper, magazine), news agencies, online media (web portals, regional news sites) and financial terminals such as Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Chinese financial information service providers – Wind (万得信息) and XueQiu (雪球). This allows more time to be spent on targeted media pitching, and at the same time maintaining vast online visibility.

4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

2. Be a go-to expert for the Chinese journalists.

Journalists are knowledgeable in their respective areas of expertise, but they do not know everything under the sun. When they are crafting a new story idea especially, they would need to do comprehensive research and look for authoritative sources to verify their findings.  Joining a third party services that connect journalists with the expert sources is an effective way to put a company on the journalist’s radar.

4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

There are several online platforms and communities that help connect experts to journalists, such as PR Newswire’s Profnet and Cision’s Help a Reporter Out. Most established sites could easily connect over 10,000 journalists with expert sources.  PR and IR professional should view this as a valuable direct access to journalists who are genuinely waiting to be connected. However, they should realize that journalists seeking sources are not looking to give free publicity for the experts’ companies. They cannot rely on query lists from journalists for a full-blown PR strategy, but instead view the channel as a good supplement for their PR and media plan.  Once they become credible and trusted sources for the journalists and established a long-term and more personal relationships, it’s just a matter of time when they start responding to your news pitch.

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3. Press Release is a trusted source for investors as well as journalists

According to 2015 Brunswick’s “Investor Use of Digital and Social Media Survey”, the surveyed investors ranked information directly from companies as the most credible and influential information source, and press release is one of the top communication channels which such information is being delivered to investors.  In addition to that, the recent findings of PR Newswire’s APAC journalist survey report also reveals press release is the most trusted source of information among journalists.

4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

However, majority of the busy journalists get swarmed by hundreds of story ideas each week, therefore, the challenge is simply how to grab their attentions while they are mouse-clicking and scrolling through their inbox emails.  Check out our latest webinar:  How to Maximize Press Release Potential to learn useful tips and best practices when writing a press release.

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And to enhance outreach to institutional investors, today’s IR professionals should also explore beyond simply meeting disclosure requirements to connect more deeply with new and existing institutional shareholders to increase their capital markets visibility.

4. Incorporate multimedia in the press release.

In 2000, the average human attention span was 12 seconds. Now, we only have 8 seconds to grab the attention from our audiences, two seconds shorter than a goldfish.  According to a surveyed journalist for the APAC journalist report, we should never underestimate the value of an image as audience is visually stimulated when a good image is included in the article.  In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  That also explains why views on press releases that contain images and videos are much higher than those that are in plain text.

4 things PR and IR professionals should know about Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect

Therefore, instead of sending a plain text press release, PR practitioners and communicators should consider including a high resolution image or even a video link to help tell a more engaging story to the media.  Whilst the channels of communication have evolved tremendously over the past decades, so has the press release which was first created in 1906.  It has evolved from a mere black and white article with text and images to an interactive webpage with multimedia to cater to the increasing needs for journalists to gather all the information in one single piece of new.  Here are examples of companies that harness the power of multimedia to drive engagement with their target audiences.

[Tweet “Views on press releases that contain images & videos are much higher than those in plain text.”]

Last but not least, PR, IR and communications professionals should embrace technologies and keep an open mind to explore different communications channels and means to reach out to a broader investor and media audiences.  You never know if your next big investor is reading your corporate news from a newspaper, online news portal or simply watching the company’s earnings announcement presentation via live webcast streaming at the comfort of their posh offices.

PR Newswire is offering an all-in-one promotion for our mainland China press release distribution which include Capital Markets Visibility Lists for a limited time only. Contact our client service team at or call +852 2572 8228 for more information.