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LCQ22: CHOICE magazine published by Consumer Council
     Following is a question by the Hon Holden Chow and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (July 5):


     The CHOICE magazine, published by the Consumer Council, was launched in 1976 to provide consumers with information on product tests, service surveys, study reports, etc.  Since January 2004, in addition to the print version, members of the public have been able to purchase and download an electronic version of the CHOICE magazine from the Consumer Council's website.  Some members of the public have relayed to me that while most of the newspapers and magazines now provide an online version to facilitate reading by readers at any time in any place, the Consumer Council has not yet made available an online version of the CHOICE magazine.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(1) the reasons for the Consumer Council not providing an online version of the CHOICE magazine to date; whether the Consumer Council has studied the introduction of such version with a view to widening the readership of the magazine; if the Consumer Council has studied and

(i) the outcome is in the affirmative, whether such version will be provided free of charge; if not, of the reasons for that;
(ii) the outcome is in the negative; of the reasons for that; if the reasons are related to a lack of resources on the part of the Consumer Council, whether the Government will increase the funding allocated to the Consumer Council; and

(2) whether the Consumer Council will consider improving the contents of the print version of the CHOICE magazine to attract more readers; if the Consumer Council will, of the approach to be adopted?



     The Consumer Council has been publishing the CHOICE Magazine since 1976.  The monthly magazine features a wide range of topics, including reports on product tests, surveys and studies, as well as detailed introduction of various consumer goods and services.  The overall sales of the CHOICE Magazine totalled 252 399 copies in 2016-17, split evenly between subscription and retail sales.  The online version of the CHOICE Magazine was launched in 2004, and 50 128 downloads were recorded in 2016-17.

     My consolidated reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:

     The print version of the CHOICE Magazine is currently sold at $12 per copy, while the online version of the CHOICE Magazine is also available for download at $12 per copy.  Consumers can elect to purchase individual articles online, at $6 per article.  In each issue of the online version of the CHOICE Magazine, some articles are available to consumers for free.  Besides, consumers may subscribe to the print or online version of the CHOICE Magazine on yearly terms.

     In order to cater for consumers' needs and facilitate their easy access to diversified information, in recent years the Council has added an overview of the content of the CHOICE Magazine, infographics and videos to its website.  The Council uploads two or more videos on average each month, which include celebrities featured on the cover of CHOICE Magazines introducing useful information and tips, as well as contents and results of product and service tests for consumers' reference.  All the aforementioned content is free.

     The Council is currently reviewing the digital and print versions of the CHOICE Magazine, including ways to enhance both versions, and studying the practicality of launching an edition that may be read online.  To boost the attractiveness and broaden the readership of the CHOICE Magazine, the Council will consider incorporating more pictures and diagrams on both digital and print versions to make them more enjoyable.  The Council will also consider enhancing the digital version's interactivity and multi-media content such as video clips to make it more fun and easier to read.  Meanwhile, the Council is also studying the operating model of the CHOICE Magazine, including the price of its online and print versions.  The Council is planning to enhance its engagement with consumers, provide information in an easy to understand manner, and enhance the general public's understanding of and support for the Council's work through better use of social media platforms such as its Facebook Page.  The Administration will discuss with the Council its proposals and resource arrangements after it has concluded its review.
Ends/Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:00
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