Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 505–521 | Cite as

City branding through cinema: the case of postcolonial Hong Kong

  • Steven ChenEmail author
  • Eric Shih


This study extends the city branding literature by outlining a framework for city branding through cinema. Through cinema, city officials can communicate their city’s identity, highlight the city’s cultural significance, differentiate it from regional rivals, and positively impact tourism. The empirical context of the study is Hong Kong, which continues to negotiate its identity almost two decades after its re-unification with China. A content analysis of 81 Hong Kong films produced between 2008 and 2015 reveal the modalities by which city officials and media producers reify the cultural significance of the city. Specifically, Hong Kong films (1) use local culture as backdrops for stories, (2) emphasize freedom of expression, (3) highlight regional localities, and (4) claim and link historical figures to the city. The study’s findings proffer implications for the city branding literature.


City branding Cinema Hong Kong 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marketing, Mihaylo College of Business and EconomicsCalifornia State UniversityFullertonUSA
  2. 2.SKK Graduate School of BusinessSungkyunkwan UniversityJongro-guKorea

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