Variety is boosting its commitment to and presence in Asia by hiring Patrick Frater as its Asia editor and basing him in a newly created bureau in Hong Kong.

The moves come in response to the region’s growing importance as an entertainment hub — and the increasing influence of its creative talent and media companies on the rest of the global biz.

“This is a major step for Variety and our readers as we attempt to reflect and analyze the burgeoning Asian entertainment scene,” said Eric Mika, Variety‘s international managing director.

The office in Hong Kong will be manned by Frater, along with local stringer Vicki Rothrock and by a soon-to-be-appointed business development exec.

Frater, who has spent the last eight years as a key editor for Screen International and is a Cannes habitué, will relocate to Hong Kong in July. He will be responsible for the major stories in the region and will have direct oversight of the dozen correspondents which Variety fields in that part of the world.

While working for Screen, Frater had various roles, including news editor and international editor. He covered numerous markets and festivals around the world, making countless trips to the Far East. Before joining Screen, Frater freelanced for numerous publications from Paris and, previous to that, worked for the Financial Times mag Investors Chronicle. Fluent in French and German — and now studying Cantonese — Frater holds a degree from the London School of Economics.

Frater will report directly to Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart and Deputy Editor Elizabeth Guider.