Chua making most of good connections

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 September, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 September, 1993, 12:00am

TO the Hong Kong Club, where we spot Robert Chua (the man who provides us curious folk with exotic call-in services to enable us to find out how the other half loves) talking animatedly down a telephone.

Chua and the telephone have a deep fondness for each other.

When he has not got a cellular perched on his shoulder while he wheels and deals, he is thinking up ways to get everyone else to put their telephones into extra-curricular mode.

But his current triumph, he tells us, is not connected with Alexander Graham Bell's invention.

Chua has just been made the first Hong Kong adviser to the Shanghai Radio and Television Society - which is somewhat surprising since he swears he is ''completely apolitical''.

The man whose local claim to TV immortality is as creator of Enjoy Yourself Tonight, which for more than two decades has kept millions of Hong Kongers indoors at night, is still not sure what the appointment fully entails.

But on one thing the boss of Robert Chua Productions, who claims he has been doing media business in China for longer than any other foreigner, is emphatic.

''It certainly has nothing to do with politics. I will just be giving the society advice and, of course, providing them with programmes specially geared to the Chinese market,'' he asserts.

But how does he manage to weave his entrepreneurial skills in China when, as he confesses, his Mandarin is ''terrible''? ''It's all down to my wife,'' he admits. ''She was born in Shanghai and is fluent in the language.'' Singaporean Chua appears to be stretching his TV wings of late. He has just signed a deal with Britain's Yorkshire TV to provide documentary coverage on China.

Says Chua: ''China represents the biggest untapped TV market in the world. Everyone wants to know about China, and China wants to open up to the world.'' One cannot, however, detach Chua too long from telephones. ''I'm having discussions with the mainland authorities about the possibility of taking some of the telephone services we offer here to China,'' he says confidently.

Leaving us with the thought that while there may not be too many telephones in China, Chua has the right connections.