Unlikely though it may seem, a local edition of top-selling British celebrity glitz sheet OK! magazine will soon appear on newsstands in Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo – or as it is better known, the People's Republic of China.

OK! is published in the UK by Richard Desmond, proprietor of Express Newspapers and a string of unsavoury magazines boasting titles such as Asian Babes, Big Ones and Readers’ Wives.

Media observers and rivals are waiting with bated breath to see how OK’s queasy mix of unctuous interviews with soap stars, sports idols and other celebs will go down with the average Chung on the street. According to one media cynic: “It could trigger a rerun of the Boxer rebellion!”

The Chinese edition, licensed to local firm Cinezoic Media under a 10-year contract, is scheduled to launch January 2004. It will publish monthly until July when it is scheduled to go weekly like its UK prototype. Distribution will extend beyond mainland China to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Says Martin Ellice, joint group managing director of Desmond’s magazine company Northern & Shell: “This expansion into China is part of the global strategy for OK! magazine. Talks are already under way to launch the magazine in other markets around the world, including the USA.”

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff