with Ben Kwok
The lesson according to Hang Seng - listen up!
Save for the People's Liberation Army or Whampoa Military School, it is hard to find a major corporate in Hong Kong that has to take a roll call and listen to broadcast instructions.
In this context, Hang Seng Bank is special because it has been running broadcasts to staff for more than 40 years. Every weekday at 8.45am, 8,000 of its employees at the bank's Hong Kong headquarters, Mong Kok branch and in Macau listen to a five-minute programme.
The content, broadcast in Cantonese and Putonghua, covers subjects such as a post-result briefing by chief executive Raymond Or Ching-fai or his deputy, Dorothy Sit Kwan Yin-ping (right), on environmental protection and sometimes a talk on how to maintain a healthy diet and tips on stretching.
A classic programme is the eight golden rules on how to better serve customers. These include: show a friendly smile, greet customers by their names and provide service will all honesty.
To go that extra mile, Hang Seng frontline staff are also advised on telephone manners.
Starting last year, the bank extended the Monday broadcast to China. The special Hang Seng culture is also ready to be exported to associate Xin Ye Bank, which is to be listed as an A share this month.
Listen to a sample of the Hang Seng roll call at http://podcasting.scmp.com.
familiar plea ... but from china
You've probably already received too many emails asking for your contact details in return for money deposits but I bet you have yet to get one from a China corporate.
A Huang Tianwen, a managing director at Sinosteel Trading Co Import and Export Corp (SSTCIEC), recently sent our reporters such an email. It claimed the company appeared to have problems in receiving money because the 'language barrier is also affecting us - we can't get good information from client because we can't speak English very good'.
Mr Huang went on: 'China is a big country but have bad government and many law ... Our company executives are afraid to travel because of government law on travel and exchange of information and jail.'
We cannot confirm yet whether Sinosteel is for real or a fraud. But a website check showed that there is a Sinosteel Corp, with a president named Huang Tianwen but no mention of SSTCIEC.
used notes as good as gold
With Lunar New Year coming up fast, demand is growing for lai see money, making a serious call on the demands of Hong Kong's note issuers.
More than HK$204 million worth of brand-new notes, ranging in value from HK$10 to HK$1,000, were printed in the run-up to Lunar New Year last year, down from about HK$300 million in the previous year.
Some 53 million used notes were also handed over as lai see by well-wishers, in line with encouragement by the environmentally cautious Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, last year.
This year, Mr Yam has repeated the plea.
'Please continue [to use old notes as lai see] and spread this message to your relatives and friends ... Future generations will thank us if we can help protect the environment,' Mr Yam wrote in his weekly web column.
Lai See might add to that - please encourage bigger lai see gifts, to make recipients even happier.
wynn sues insurer over picasso
Billionaire Stephen Wynn, whose Wynn Macau casino opened in September last year, is pressing his insurers to come up with some cash after he put his elbow through a 75-year-old Picasso painting, Le Reve, in the same month.
Mr Wynn, who has submitted a claim for US$54 million, is suing Lloyd's of London to obtain documents related to the insurer's appraisal of the work, worth US$139 million before it was damaged.
A restorer said the repaired painting was worth US$85 million, a complaint filed this week in Manhattan federal court said.
The casino owner, according to Bloomberg, said he hadn't yet been paid for the damage or received a counter-offer from the insurer.
His suit aims to force Lloyd's to surrender its documents appraising the loss.