Hong Kong pop sensation driving mobile phone revenues:
- They dress like pre-teens but they are in their early twenties. Their songs are electronic candy pop about school and puppy love with mind-boggling lyrics such as “chemistry gives me love, biology gives me love, music gives me love . . .” but Hong Kong children love them.
They are the Twins, Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi a Cantopop sensation that is causing as much excitement in the boardroom of New World Mobility, one of Hong Kong’s biggest cellular phone companies, as it is in the territory’s schools.
Subscribers to the “Twins Mobile”, a service offered by New World Mobility, can download the duo’s dulcet tones for their voicemail greetings, buy their idols’ clothes in online auctions with bonus points accumulated from phone usage and attend exclusive concerts.
The service is part of a new approach that has helped the former lossmaker to turn round its fortunes in one of the toughest mobile markets.
“We are marrying the music industry to the mobile industry,” says Norman Wai, New World Mobility president and chief executive.
….In August last year, New World approached the Emperor Entertainment Group, creator of the Twins, to discuss how to target another untapped mobile market: young females.
“Sometimes ‘young’ means young in our ap-proach; some of the Twins’ fans are eight to nine years old,” Mr Wai says.
The response was instant, with “tens of thousands” of young people signing up for the service. Again, the focus was on generating traffic. On top of a monthly fee of HK$10, users are charged HK$3-HK$50 for services ranging from ring tone, picture and song downloads to customised voicemail and call forwarding services.
Such services have helped push the company’s non-voice revenue to 10 per cent of average revenue per user from 5 per cent 12 months ago, Mr Wai says. Subscriber numbers have risen from 720,000 in June last year to 880,000 today.
….Similarly, the appeal of the angelic Twins is not likely to last for ever. But these value added services have helped create a bigger cushion for margins.
And as for the Twins, as Mr Wai says, there will be plenty more where they came from. “Twins Mobile is just our starting-point. There are many other artists in the Emperor Group – we want to leverage on their content as well.” [Financial Times]
Pop culture success is driven by the excitement of shared participation and appreciation of what’s “hot” at the moment – it isn’t about the “artist” at all. Due to the communal cultural heritage, Asia is a prime pop fad market, and with China opening up, it has just begun.