Stay away from those off-market distractions, guys
We are told that with the slower stock market business, there is a concern on the part of some brokerages that traders with time on their hands may allow themselves to become 'distracted'. One of the main distractions this week has been the Shanghai electronic games show - ChinaJoy. The problem, as is often the case in life, centres on the presence of attractive young women who are frequently employed to 'add value' to particular products. Some of these then appear on social network sites. ChinaJoy apparently has a weibo site that attracts tens of thousands of viewers. Male traders have been known to browse these sites. A number of brokerages have felt obliged to warn their traders to keep their mind on the job.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics
We are told that mainland statistics are improving. Gross domestic product growth was 8.1 per cent for the first quarter and 7.6 per cent for the second, indicating the economy is slowing. Meanwhile, 27 provinces have reported their half-year GDP growth numbers. Interestingly 19 provinces are reporting double-digit growth, while eight are in the single digits. People have long been aware of this feature of mainland statistics, but with the economy supposedly slowing, the figures for national and provincial growth appear to be going in opposite directions.
Sparkling wine, fruit of the mine
Readers may recall our recent piece on Hong Kong-listed gold miner G-Resources celebrating the pouring of the first gold and silver at its Martabe mine in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Executive vice-chairman Owen Hegarty tells us 'there were a few drinks' to celebrate the occasion at the company's Wan Chai headquarters, but not at the mine head since the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan has just started. G has further marked the occasion by ordering about 50 cases of red wine that bear the label, 'Celebrating Martabe's First Gold and Silver Production'. The company hasn't stinted on the wine. It's a 2010 Two Left Feet from Mollydooker Wines in South Australia. Wine guru Robert Parker gives it 90 points, which means: 'An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.' Let's hope the gold is just as good.
A question of face
The Financial Times Lex column had 'a bit of a larf' yesterday at Facebook's expense. Under the heading 'Facebook - social notworking', it explored the recently IPOed firm's underwhelming first-quarter earnings. The column noted the earnings release was headed by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's mantra: 'Our goal is to help every person stay connected,' but added: 'No doubt the goal of those investors who own shares in the social networking site is to connect their fists with the end of the chief executive's nose.' Facebook is about US$24 below its initial listing price - a decline of about one-third, putting it on a forward price earnings ratio of 50 times. Presumably that gets a big thumbs down.
What a good life behind bars
We bring you the sad tale of Fu Daxin, a 73-year-old from Hunan province. Fu is physically incapacitated and doesn't have enough to live on, according to online newsletter Week in China, which is distributed by HSBC. Four years ago he hit on the wheeze of getting himself sent to jail, where he would get food and shelter. He committed an armed robbery and ensured he was caught. According to the China Economic Weekly, he protested at the lightness of his sentence and asked the judge to put him away for life. In jail he was able to eat meat for the first time in years and put on 5kg. 'In prison there is bread and porridge, no labour, and there are doctors when you get sick,' he told the newspaper. To his chagrin he was released early for good behaviour and was sent to a nursing home in Henyang, where he complains about the appalling conditions and the terrible food. 'Life here is worse than in prison.'
Green is sexy
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has attracted considerable interest with the public in recent months. Now some businesses are getting in on the act. British energy company npower, owned by German utilities group RWE, has started a Twitter campaign called 50 Shades of Green, The Daily Telegraph reports. It's designed to give energy-saving tips to consumers and the company claims it will 'get the nation turned on to all things energy'.
Tweets go something like this: 'He takes my hand, 'hold here and twist it', he growls, 'you see it's not hard to put in an energy efficient light bulb'.' There is more: 'Staring at the contract, my inner goddess backflips. In 12 easy payments, my boiler will be kept serviced.' Maybe sex doesn't always sell.