Sohmen's role is recognised
HONG KONG'S most prominent Austrian, Dr Helmut Sohmen, has been presented with this year's award for 'Overseas Austrian of the Year'.
The Swarovski Crystal-Eagle Award was presented to him last month in Vienna by the International Association of Austrians Abroad.
To the accompaniment of the Mozart Festival Orchestra, Dr Sohmen, the 56-year-old chairman of World Wide Shipping, was cited for 'developing Sino-Austrian relations' along with his chairmanship of the Hong Hong Austrian Association and his appointment to the EU-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group.
'Dr Sohmen is held in high regard for being a top businessman and a social peace-maker for the expansion of the economy in Asia,' the citation said.
'His ability to bring people together and his negotiating skills have contributed to the fact that he is often consulted on important decisions in Hong Kong.
'He has introduced many Austrian companies to important Asian contacts and vice versa and he has often given advice to Austrian companies wanting to do business in Asia.' The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Vienna and numerous senior Austrian Government officials, including Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schussel.
Representing Hong Kong was Home Affairs Department director Shelley Lau.
Dr Sohmen, who has been at the helm of late Sir Yue-kong Pao's shipping empire since 1986, has served on many community groups in Hong Kong.
A former legislative councillor and former member of the Basic Law Consultative Committee, he has chaired the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong Shipowners' Association, the Council of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and ICAC Review Committee.
Presently, he chairs the Hong Kong Committee of the Pacific Basin Economic Council .
In addition, he heads the Hong Kong Austrian Association.