Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 December, 2003, 12:00am

Saving Hong Kong's face

It was a routine phone call one of our reporters placed yesterday to the Shenzhen municipal government for a check of the latest monthly container throughput figures recorded by the special economic zone's various ports.

To the reporter's surprise, the request was refused. When asked why the sudden reticence, it was explained that since the total throughput of Shenzhen's four major ports exceeded Kwai Chung's, Hong Kong media had made a meal of the trend with alarmist articles about the 'decline' of domestic port operations.

Shenzhen's ports moved 1.03 million containers in October, exceeding Kwai Chung's throughput for the first time. Determined to spare Hong Kong further 'embarrassment', Shenzhen has decided to keep its numbers closer to its chest.

Who said regional rivalry is endemic in the Pearl River delta?

plane ad not so plain

On one of its web pages, China Travel Services' Hong Kong office advertises a special round-trip travel package to Shanghai on China Eastern Airlines. The ad includes a picture of a plane taking off.

But closer inspection shows it's not a China Eastern jet. Instead it has the markings of Air Canada, the troubled flag-carrier Victor Li Tzar-kuoi is bent on acquiring.

Could it be that CTS has some inside information on Mr Li's next target? Either that or Air Canada was the recent beneficiary of a secret air-services coup, and is now flying regional routes in Greater China.