The news could not have come at a better time for the people at Apple. Just as the workmen start putting the finishing touches to the company's first official outlet in Hong Kong, a survey has found that the Apple brand has burst into the top five "most trusted" by the city's citizens.

Put together by market research firm TNS and published Monday in the marketing trade magazine Campaign , the survey found that Apple now ranks fourth (up from ninth) in terms of recognition here, with the top four positions all held by brands involved in electronics.

Retailers in general across Hong Kong will be smiling at the news that Sony, Panasonic and Canon came out in front of Apple, respectively, giving strength to the city's reputation as among the world's leading shopping destinations for such goods.

Apple is currently building its first showroom in Hong Kong - a 15,000 square-foot (1393 sq m) outlet, which will be spread over two floors of the high-end IFC Mall in the middle of town. It is said to be costing US$20 million (14 million euros) to outfit.

Electronics goods dominated overall in Asia, too, with the top five reading as it did last year - Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Canon.

The annual survey picks out Asia's top 1,000 brands and then asks more than 3,000 people across the region to pick what they would rate as the top two in terms of trust. Those polled were aged between 15 and 64.

Local brands which made Hong Kong's top 10 were banking giants HSBC, the pharmacy Watsons and ubiquitous convenience store Circle K.

Surprisingly, both in Hong Kong and across Asia itself luxury goods brands struggled to make an impact - Christian Dior faring best in Hong Kong at 40th and Chanel (at 30th) faring best Asia-wide.

In brands they trust ...

Hong Kong's top 10 (last year's position):

1 (1) Sony
2 (2) Panasonic
3 (4) Canon
4 (9) Apple
5 (7) HSBC
6 (6) Nestle
7 (8) Samsung
8 (11) Watsons
9 (12) Starbucks
10 (17) Circle K