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HMV could stay alive and kicking in Asia thanks to strong CD, DVD market

While Hilco is reported to be the only bidder for the remaining British outlets of bankrupt HMV chain, the name will survive and even strive on the other side of the globe where CDs and DVDs, whose sales decline sealed the fate of the European operations, are going strong.

It will be courtesy of Kelvin Wu, the head of the Asian buyout fund AID Partners who bought HMV's eight shops in Hong Kong and Singapore last month - that make a profit and are debt-free - along with the rights to set up shop in China.

Wu told the London Times he believes that Chinese music lovers will pay full price for CDs and DVDs and plans to open stores on the mainland within six months, where no music chains of any comparable size exist. While sales at HMV in Hong Kong and Singapore had fallen some 20% over the last six years, sales of DVDs had barely dropped.

According to The Times, Wu's plans include hosting live music acts in stores, as well as staging DVD "premieres" attended by film stars, through connections he established when he was running the Hong Kong-listed cinema chain Golden Harvest.

Rampant piracy in China has kept entrepreneurs away from this gigantic market, but Wu believes that, with growing wealth - the average income per capita for urban Chinese in 2011 was £2,400 - the attitude to buying fakes in China has changed. "If you buy an 84-inch LG television for HK$180,000 (£15,300), why would it bother you to buy a HK$200 DVD (£17)?" he told The Times.

Story filed 21.03.13

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