Lai see

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 12:00am

Dow Jones promises more from less for fewer with Journal revamp

How does one boost a flat Asian readership? Having worked its magic on the once great Far Eastern Economic Review, Dow Jones now plans to go tabloid with its regional flagship - the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Aptly for a newspaper for which brevity is a dirty word, its press release ran to more than a 1,000 words - and even then it was far from clear what is going on. Relegating the region you cover to an afterthought perhaps offers some kind of clue (from October 17, the newspaper will be re-named the Wall Street Journal Asia).

The new strategy aims to focus on 'C-suite executives'. We too were puzzled by that one but a call to Dow Jones yielded crisp insight into the latest in management jargon ('C' pretty much means anything with a 'chief' in it: chief executive; chief financial officer; chief washroom attendant). At present, the Journal claims a circulation of 80,000 copies daily, of which 72 per cent goes to senior management - or, viewed another way, about 28 per cent of its readership is about to be told to take a hike.

The company reckons it will achieve ongoing annual savings of US$17 million by crunching down the Asian and European operations to a tabloid formula.

It's just as well the slimmed down tabloid still promises readers more of everything.

never-ending celebrations

Here is a tip from one who knows. Never walk into a Chinese restaurant on Mother's Day.

Sino Group market research shows that every Chinese restaurant in Olympic City had long queues this year. Two of the mall's most famous Chinese restaurants apparently saw sales rise 25 per cent over the previous Sunday.

Luckily for mall operators, there is a reason to celebrate every month. Next week sees a long weekend and Father's Day is only five weeks away.

We wonder what those nice Sino people will be doing with the rents?

adventures of blunderman

Have you ever read the bio of a typical business superhero and wondered how they do it? You know, the sort that runs a successful business, sits on 15 company boards and is a member of countless committees. Well, sometimes they are not all that super.

Take the case of Barry Buttifant, a director at Hsin Cheong Construction Group's Synergis Holding. On Thursday, he sold five million shares in outdoor advertising firm MediaNation for 28 cents each. This represented a nice little earner as he'd bought most of the stock last year for 13.5 cents apiece. The only trouble is, he is a non-executive independent director of MediaNation and is bound by black-out trading rules, which bar buying and selling of stock during sensitive periods.

Mr Buttifant, who holds five other directorships, has got himself in a bit of a flap. The sale was conducted three days ahead of MediaNation's quarterly release.

The firm said Mr Buttifant made 'a complete administrative oversight' as he had intended to sell his shares to JCDecaux Pearl & Dean as part of a general offer - an offer that closes on May 20.

The outgoing MediaNation director has 30 years of corporate finance experience - which only goes to prove that no one is perfect.

hkma makes green-backed savings

We are glad to see the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has got with the green programme.

Its latest disclosure reveals that electricity usage fell 7.6 per cent last year while the agency made swinging cuts in Christmas cards - from 2,600 to a Scrooge-like zero. Even more impressive is that the bureaucrats seem to have bought themselves mugs since paper-cup consumption tumbled 14 per cent to 36,000.