with Luisa Tam
Taking stock of Alibaba founder's gift shares
Lai See remembers how Jack Ma Yun, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group, surprised 80 business school students at the company's annual general meeting with a gift of 100 shares each of Alibaba.com stock last May.
We hear from an insider that while the vast majority of the students collected their shares, for some reason 10 students from the University of Hong Kong failed to pick up their share certificates.
Lai See really hopes they realise their mistake and quickly collect the shares, since each 100-share stake is, as of yesterday's close, worth HK$1,646. The stock has risen 95 per cent in one year.
The students, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and HKU, were invited to attend the AGM along with 300 shareholders and customers. The gift was meant to spur their interest in business and entrepreneurship.
Alibaba.com's next AGM will be held in Shenzhen on May 14.
All those students who received shares last year will be invited back to this year's meeting as full shareholders.
What price love?
Yesterday in one of our items, Lai See talked about the price of love.
We featured the acquisition of two luxury flats for HK$76 million by Hopewell Holdings vice-chairman Eddie Ho as a wedding anniversary present for his wife.
We subsequently found out that the previous owner of the Villa Lotto units, veteran investment banker Francis Leung Pak-to, had bought one of them for HK$3 million in 1988. The second, adjoining unit was obtained by his wife for HK$25 million in 1997.
The price of the first property increased more than 12 times in 22 years, setting a sale record for older luxury apartments at nearly HK$15,800 per square foot.
Lai See is finally convinced that we can't really put a price on love, especially when it is dictated by the price of property.
An observant reader has suggested that careful consideration must be given to using British architect Norman Foster's shark-like design for the Kai Tak cruise terminal, which is to be completed in 2013.
We recently reported that a senior government official believes the Foster concept has been chosen because it looks like a shark opening its mouth, which implies its ability to draw capital and business in the future.
But our reader is rather concerned about this symbolic interpretation.
'One can just imagine the thousands of complaints relating to bad fung shui from people whose buildings lie in direct line from the shark's mouth,' he says.
Thanks, John, we have forwarded your e-mail to all relevant government departments and their fung shui consultants.
Money comes first
We believe true love is a many-splendoured thing.
But, according to a mainland study, when it comes to marriage, many college girls in Guangzhou are less interested in love than they are in money.
According to the survey conducted by the Women's Research Centre of Guangzhou City and Guangzhou City Institute of Women, which interviewed nearly 1,000 female college students from 10 local universities, nearly 60 per cent of the respondents want to marry into money, preferably the sons of tycoons.
Nearly 40 per cent said they would be content with an ordinary husband, someone a bit further down the food chain, who has a stable public-service job.
Although most respondents seemed to believe marrying well is above everything else in life, results showed that 60 per cent of them still rated personality as a priority.
We hear the iPad is capable of jolting hearts in Brazil.
Our apologies, that's a different kind of i-PAD - a South Korean-made defibrillator used in hospitals.
But, the stylish new tablet computer is, on the contrary, causing heartache for some senior executives at Apple.
When Apple tried to register the moniker with Brazil's National Industrial Property Institute, it found out that the heart-starting medical device has been on sale for more than two years.
Its manufacturer, CU Medical Systems, owns the name IPAD NF1200.
That cardiac-corrective function is apparently beyond the capabilities of Apple's iPad, despite Apple CEO Steve Jobs calling his invention a 'truly magical' product.
But the two devices do have a couple of things in common.
The i-PAD is described as 'lightweight and battery powered for maximum portability' and 'designed for minimally trained individuals'.