what does li ka-shing seek in life? writer victor hugo holds the clue
So what does Li Ka-shing actually want out of life? The question was put to the property tycoon by a group of teenagers during an $80 million cheque presentation to St Paul's Co-Education College.
The hard-nosed businessman abruptly pulled the thoughts of a French philosopher out of his hat. 'There is a great spectacle, and that is the sea. There is a greater spectacle than the sea, and that is the sky. There is yet a greater spectacle than the sky, and that is the interior of the soul. If you find yourself to be very successful one day and willing to contribute your utmost to our society, nations and other people, you will feel very happy inside.'
The quote was from writer Victor Hugo, better known for a literary classic that captures the plight of an underclass, Les Miserables.
a funny thing happened at the forum
As the great and the good gathered in Beijing yesterday for the World Economic Forum's China Business Summit, its organisers got a harsh reminder of the reality of mainland business.
Lai See overheard a heated exchange between a senior forum executive and staff of local partner China Enterprise Confederation, over the perennial problem of intellectual property.
Apparently the partner - with access to all the forum's sensitive business information - had teamed up with a competitor, even inviting a representative of the rival to the conference.
The competitor copied the forum logo and sent it out on promotional material. The clash ended with the forum executive demanding an explanation and a written apology, and warning that his firm would be doing business in China but not with its current partners.
Look out for a change of name for next year's summit.
a quote to remember
The World Economic Forum could hardly omit the big topic, oil, and one of the most interesting quotes we heard was from Jia Xinguang, chief analyst of China National Automotive Industry Consulting & Development Corp.
In the wake of surging oil costs, Mr Jia praised George W. Bush's decisiveness in releasing strategic reserves and bringing down prices.
'Comparatively speaking, China has little power to curb the oil price rise,' he said, wryly adding: 'Where are our national reserves? Perhaps they are still somewhere in Saudi Arabia.'
Boot camp's in at huawei
Huawei chairman Ren Zhengfei has been passing on military training skills to his 20,000 staff. Former SmarTone PR executive Helen Kwan, now in Huawei's corporate communications team, spoke of a two-week orientation.
This meant a wake-up call at 6am, followed by nearly an hour of running and exercise.
That was quickly followed by a series of lectures on different Huawei operating units and its technology glossary, and a night watching movies aimed at training 120 newcomers how to be more creative and to become team players.
It is no surprise that Huawei staff are famous for their fighting spirit.
unicom director pockets $218,000
China Unicom director William Lo Wing-yan is the only director to have exercised his stock options to make a profit in the first half. The home-grown manager exercised his 116,000 options at $4.30, sold at $6.18 in February, and trousered a $218,000 profit.
Mr Lo is among a group of Unicom employees who exercised a total of 6.29 million shares, mostly at $4.30. Unicom yesterday closed at $6.25. They are indeed the lucky ones. Many executives still own a large chunk of options at above $15. They still have quite a way to go.
no mousing around, please
Joining Mickey Mouse and company in Hong Kong for the opening of Disneyland will be former US president Bill Clinton, who will arrive on Monday and will deliver a keynote speech at the CLSA conference.
The media have already been given the house rules: a mandatory security check before entering the Grand Hyatt's grand ballroom, and a promise to remain seated until Mr Clinton is escorted out of the room.
No Mickeying about, then.