The popular magazine Hola! continues to expand in Latin America after beginning publication in Mexico six months ago and in Chile just five days ago.

The magazine, which was founded in Barcelona in 1944, has become a success in eight countries and its magic formula rests in "seeking the positive and doing pleasant journalism," Mamen Sanchez, the adjunct director of Hola! and the person in charge of coordinating the Latin American editions, told Efe.

The editors, she said, are moving away "from the shocking and the ugly" and seeking the positive, and in that "perhaps the success (of the magazine) is based."

Sanchez is satisfied with the expansion of the magazine, which was founded by her grandparents, and which her father - Eduardo Sanchez Junco - took charge of expanding and consolidating.

She said she is confident that her late father and grandfather would feel proud of the work she and her siblings are doing to make the magazine a global publication.

A representative of that enterprising past is her 92-year-old grandmother Mercedes, who closely supervises the evolution of the magazine and its contents.

The publication comes out every Wednesday "in 24 countries simultaneously, with 24 different covers."

Mexico has its own edition and was selected to be the first beachhead in Latin America. Once the publication was established there "it was easy to find partners" who wanted to join this project through franchises with editorial groups in other countries, said Mamen Sanchez.

Thus, in the kiosks in Europe, Latin America and Asia either Hola! or Hello! are available, and countries as diverse as India, Thailand, Serbia, Malaysia and Pakistan have their own editions.

Argentina, which recently celebrated two years on board the Hola! bandwagon with its 100th issue has achieved a print run of 90,000 copies per week, followed closely by Mexico with 82,500. Peru and Puerto Rico each have weekly print runs of 10,000.

The recently incorporated Chile currently has a bimonthly edition of 15,000 copies, and Colombian and Venezuela both have 30,000.

Sanchez said that it all starts with the advantage of having a well-known name - "the most difficult thing to get" - to which may be added the fact that this is an "elegant" magazine in which "one can place one's trust."

Since its founding, Hola! has always had a presence in Latin America. It had the "good luck" to achieve "franchise agreements" in the region and although presently "the European economy is getting worse, we have been able to expand" in the area, Sanchez said.

In addition to the paper edition, which "continues to be the flagship," the magazine is also using new technologies. The online edition is one of the most widely read such publications and there is an iPad application and an alert feature for cell phone users. EFE