Better Homes and Gardens Plants Roots in China

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New York publishing firm Meredith Corp. and SEEC Media Group Ltd., a print media company in China, have launched a Chinese edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Better Homes and Gardens has nearly 40 million U.S. readers, with a circulation rate base of 7.6 million.

"Sweeping economic changes have led to the emergence of a middle class in China," said John Zieser, vice president of corporate development and general counsel and secretary for Meredith.

"As household income levels have increased, the rising middle-class consumers are yearning for information about home and family, and no magazine was speaking to this growing audience of homeowners," he said.

Better Homes and Gardens China mainly targets women. The typical reader is a busy wife and mom with a college education and career. She also is interested in home decor, cooking, entertainment and creating a better life for her family. These women make the household purchasing decisions.

In January 2005, Meredith agreed to license the Better Homes and Gardens brand to SEEC to produce a Chinese edition. Along with the brand name, Meredith provided editorial content, photography and consumer research.

"We signed the agreement and spent the next year working through government regulations and training the editorial staff," Mr. Zieser said.

The edition is available in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore and contains 300 pages of content. The debut issue in May circulated 200,000 copies. The monthly publication sells for 20 renminbi, or about $2.50. An online component is planned that will complement the magazine's content.

"We aim to be the No. 1 resource for middle-class families with inspiring new ideas for better living," Mr. Zieser said. "The magazine seeks to act as a woman's companion."

Better Homes and Gardens China is sold on newsstands in China and through subscriptions. The publication expects newsstand sales to make up 93 percent of circulation within the first year.

Subscriptions will be sold through ads in the magazine, the soon-to-launch Web site, direct mail campaigns and through leading subscription agencies. Competitors of the publication include Good, Lady and Urban Housewife.

"The magazine focuses on service journalism that provides readers with real knowledge on home and family issues that they can apply to their own lives," Mr. Zieser said.

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