Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 August, 2007, 12:00am

How to make a silk purse out of a pig's (blue) ear

Insurance companies on the mainland are tapping new markets every day. As incomes rise, new and accelerating demand is created for products to insure people's lives, health and cars. But Lai See had to scratch his head at the news of the latest development.

According to the Ministry of Finance, Beijing plans to spend up to 1.15 billion yuan to help farmers buy pig insurance.

Mainland pork prices have risen nearly 50 per cent so far this year but it's been no boon to farmers. The reason for the steep increases is the widescale slaughter of swine due to disease oubreaks.

Beijing's new subsidies, which will cover up to 80 per cent of the cost of insuring pigs for farmers in poor western areas, is meant to help protect against hog diseases like the notorious Blue Ear, as well as natural disasters.

Pigs still can't fly, but at least you can claim on them when they die.

Targeting the wrong audience

A Zhejiang-based website that offered a role-playing game allowing users to go online to slay and torture corrupt officials has crashed after more than 100,000 downloads, according to state press.

In the game, devised by the provincial government to tackle the issue of corruption, players advance by using a combination of weapons, magic and torture to kill off crooked government officials and their children.

But some observers thought the message missed its mark.

'Government officials should be the ones getting anti-corruption education, not local youngsters,' Peking University professor Wang Xiongjun told the paper.

Lenovo gets up to speed

On to a technological innovation of a less combative nature.

Lenovo Group, the mainland's largest information technology company, yesterday showed it took to heart the new marketing slogan 'From the world's best engineers' by using a simultaneous webcast and teleconference for the first time to announce its fiscal first-quarter results.

Senior executives, of course, were upbeat because of Lenovo's better than expected net income and first double-digit sales growth since it acquired IBM's personal computer business.

But it was the beat reporters who were most thrilled by Lenovo's internet savviness, as they filed their stories without a hitch. Last quarter, a plain old press conference to announce the company's results dragged on past 8pm - leaving more than a few overworked journos scrambling to meet their deadlines.

Hong Kong road show

This morning the Transport Department launches another round of auctions for personalised vehicle registration marks.

Lai See never ceases to be amused by the creativity exercised by members of our civil service seeking to turn a buck. This time around, they have launched a number of marks that should have wide appeal in Hong Kong's business community.

What successful desk trader wouldn't want to adorn their Porsche with the tag: FOREX. Or, for that matter: SUCCESS.

Or perhaps you've made a bundle from H shares this year? Show it with pride: S1NOPEC1 (but hurry-company president Wang Tianpu may beat you to the punch).

Still beaming from the stake you bought in a Hong Kong container terminal? DP WORLD may be the one for you.

Perhaps a few Taipans from Swire or Jardines will be tempted by the short and sweet: HONG.

You can also submit a bid for: BOC. But be warned the Royal Bank of Scotland is unlikely to shy away from a bidding war.

Lai See's favourite contender and the most likely to go the distance would have to be: BRUCELEE.



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