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Publication

Country Profile: Hong Kong

The world’s leading promoters & the 40 top markets they operate in.
Click the interactive map below to explore the top 40 global markets.

Compared to much of Asia and the wider world, the Hong Kong market is still in a state of pandemic stasis. Strict Covid restrictions remain in place, limiting live entertainment capacities and making visits by international tours unfeasible.

“So far, we’ve been well behind the curve in timing,” says Justin Sweeting, music director of Magnetic Asia, a key promoter in the region alongside Live Nation, AEG, Lushington, Midas Entertainment, TEG, and Eventim Asia. “There are more and more signs of that happening though, so we hope to join the rest of the world in getting back to the fun stuff soon.”

“The market is now in the middle of recovering from the pandemic. The border is not 100% open, restrictions and Covid-19 safety measures are still implied but relaxing gradually.”

And Joanna Yuen, managing director, Live Nation Hong Kong, which recently promoted Blackpink, Westlife, OneRepublic and Russell Peters, says: “The market is now in the middle of recovering from the pandemic. The border is not 100% open, restrictions and Covid-19 safety measures are still implied but relaxing gradually. We foresee the business will be back to normal or even better in Q1 2023 and onwards.”

There have been periods when live music has been able to go ahead, though, helping to nurture the local – big on hip-hop – scene. A scene that has previously suffered from a lack of knowledge on the workings of the music industry and the expense of Hong Kong living, which has often made it difficult for artists to commit the time to their artistic development but is now coming into its own.

“We’ve been able to focus on local talent,” says Sweeting. “We’ve run shows across scales from small headline club shows to larger outdoor, all-seated events using some of the site Clockenflap is held on. It’s an exciting time within the local scene – for the first time in a long time there are a plethora of acts coming up across the spectrum of genres, which certainly couldn’t be said even a few years ago. These acts are selling out venues, putting some much-needed cash into the ecosystem. And having success stories of local acts making real money from their art is very welcome news indeed.”

“It’s an exciting time within the local scene – for the first time in a long time there are a plethora of acts coming up across the spectrum of genres, which certainly couldn’t be said even a few years ago.”

Hong Kong’s promoters, meanwhile, have had the time to work on new ideas. Magnetic’s innovations included the creation of music platform Clockenflap Music for podcast music shows “allowing us to keep speaking to our fans and continue introducing new music in our ongoing efforts to grow the audience base locally,” and developing the livestream industry both to homes and live-screening events, which has proven popular in a territory short on grassroots live venues.

Live Nation, which saw huge success with 852 Fes, is now creating BPM Festival Series (Beat, Power, Movement). “This is a carnival combining music and fitness,” says Yuen. She adds
that after months of negotiation, it has finally received confirmation of “mask-on exemption” for performers who will be coming for shows.

“Hong Kong’s population has expressed a high demand for entertainment, especially live performances. Covid measures have been relaxed in the past six months in Hong Kong and many local acts have held their concerts in town with a lot of support from fans, meaning we can see the demand for local acts is saturating. At the same time, HK fans haven’t participated in overseas performances, which they are craving, showing strong demand for this.”

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