Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2007, 12:00am

Finding the right left-handed man for the job

What type of character does China's oldest male fashion brand, Hengyuanxiang, look for to drive its marketing?

According to its ad seeking a marketing manager, the candidate should be under 40 with at least three years in the garment industry and a good command of English.

That is, unless you are a southpaw, in which case you'd be exempt from the requirements.

The left-centric approach stirred up a hornet's nest in the mainland - presumably from the majority right-handed community - for alleged job discrimination.

But the company insists that its preference is legitimate, since it believes left-handers to be more creative, citing such notable southpaws as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.

The 80-year-old firm has eight lefties on board, and hopes they will eventually make up as much as 20 per cent of its workforce.

The man behind the revolution is general manager Liu Ruiqi, who unsurprisingly is left-handed himself.

While we won't jump into the lefty-righty debate, Mr Liu does seem to have come up with a creative way of using the recruitment exercise to get some free publicity.

In the eye of the beholder

How was the SK-II cosmetics brand affected by a mainland charge in September last year that it was including harmful ingredients in its beauty products?

It was badly scarred by the incident, if the earnings reported by Growth Enterprise Market-listed company Sau San Tong Holdings offer any clue.

Its subsidiary Shanghai Dong Fang Ri Hua Sales is a Shanghai distributor for the personal care products of P&G, which owns the SK-II brand.

The company said turnover from distribution of SK-II for the quarter to June was down 26.5 per cent at HK$78.2 million, and blamed the sales decline on the 'SK-II incident'.

Nevertheless, the slimming centre operator says it plans to invest further resources to market the SK-II brand because it remains highly confident about the quality of its products.

At least someone is.

Backing the winning team

It is a win-win game after all. Chelsea Football Club on Sunday extended its consecutive undefeated home record to 99 games, but opponent Birmingham City (BMC) also came out shining after shocking spectators with a close and competitive game, losing 3-2.

Investors appreciated that. Hong Kong-traded shares in BMC parent Grandtop International yesterday jumped as much as 14.5 per cent before retreating to close at HK$1.24, still up 6.9 per cent. Chairman Carson Yeung Ka-sing missed his company's extraordinary general meeting yesterday to cheer his team's debut at Stamford Bridge.

In his stead, deputy Hui Ho-luek stepped in to offer post-game comments in the wake of the formal meeting.

'I am personally very happy with the results, considering this is Chelsea on its home turf,' said Mr Ho, who forecast that BMC would be able to at least stay above the middle of the Premier League table.

That would be a good goal for investors as well.

For the love of the game

When men start discussing football, it's hard for them to stop.

Yesterday Lai See had lunch with three executives, and football dominated the first half of our conversation (much longer than a match).

Still, something interesting turned up about this season's broadcasting arrangement.

Three of us watched the game on Now TV - which last year outbid incumbent Cable TV for the Hong Kong broadcasting rights - but none of us carried a phone linked to the PCCW mobile network, which provides high-definition video highlights of weekend matches.

One executive pulled out a SmarTone-Vodafone-linked phone and played clips of the Chelsea vs BMC game. Then we listened to the BBC's post-game radio commentary.

How could SmarTone-Vodafone offer this service without paying heavy licensing fees? The answer lies at, which can be accessed on handheld devices.

Clean machine

For the millions of BlackBerry users around the world, and nearly 100,000 in Hong Kong, here is a creative service that may interest you. When Beijing Sofitel Hotel opens it doors this Sunday, it will offer free BlackBerry and personal digital assistant (PDA) cleaning services for guests staying in its executive suites.

The 15-minute process involves a brush, a spray, a cloth and an enema. Whatever it takes.