with Howard Winn
Ruinian finance chief gives his product another plug
Philip Poon Yick-pang, the chief financial officer of Ruinian International, is nothing if not thick-skinned.
Ruinian is one of the mainland's biggest producers of amino acid health supplements, but earlier this year one of its products fell foul of the Beijing Drug Administration for not containing as much amino acid as the package claimed.
The company now labels the package correctly, but at yesterday's press conference to discuss Ruinian's interim results he was suggesting the media try another of the its amino acid products. 'You people use a lot of brain power, it will benefit you,' he suggested cheerfully.
Well, maybe, assuming the labelling is correct. Keep taking the tablets, Philip.
We were surprised to receive a press release from China XLX Fertiliser proclaiming its success at the 24th International Annual Report Competition - an event the company describes as the Academy Awards of annual reports.
China XLX is a mainland company that produces urea from coal and gleefully tells us that it won six awards.
So, is this the breakthrough we have been waiting for in annual report writing by Chinese companies - the new leader in financial transparency, perhaps? Afraid not. The awards were for photography used in the report, the front cover and the design of the report.
The awards for financial disclosure, chairman's message and other substantive matters went elsewhere.
Biggest loser blames casino
Just days after reporting the biggest win by a punter - HK$12.5 million - Resorts World Casino is now having to reflect on what could be the biggest gambling loser.
According to Singapore newspaper Today, a local businessman burned his way through S$26.3 million (HK$151 million) over three days of gambling, including S$18 million he lost in one day.
This was achieved by playing baccarat at S$400,000 a hand.
As you might expect, the spree ended in tears - his girlfriend's, as she pleaded with the casino management to stop extending her boyfriend's credit.
The gambler has repaid S$10 million and is 'negotiating' with the casino over the rest.
In case discussions don't go well he has consulted a law firm over the possibility of suing the casino because he claims it did not conduct proper background checks on his creditworthiness.
The lawyer feels he may have a case, arguing that by not checking his credit background and by exceeding by some 60 times the gambler's original credit limit, the resort encouraged irresponsible gambling and breached its duty of care.
Like a rabbit suing someone for allowing it on the lettuce patch.
Deripaska sees it half-full
Good to see that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has come through the financial crisis in better shape.
In an interview with The Times of London, he was asked to comment on how his searing experience during the financial crisis had affected him.
'It was a crisis,' he shrugged. 'But it is life. It is business. A crisis is always a waste because we can do the same without the stress, but we have learnt a lot. Crisis creates an opportunity that allows you to see further than usual.'
It is this enhanced vision, presumably, that leads him to believe he can double the value of aluminium company Rusal by the end of 2012.
He has some way to go. As he is no doubt sick of being reminded, the share price is still languishing some 29 per cent below the price at which it was listed in January.
Levi's goes down-market
We see that Levi Strauss, the jeans maker, has come up with a new set of blue denim trousers for the China market. It is already selling its jeans for US$100 a pop at the upmarket malls but now wants to broaden its appeal.
Aaron Boey, president for Levi Strauss Asia-Pacific, was quoted by Associated Press as saying they had discovered a new group of consumers. 'Many of them want stylish clothes but at accessible prices.' Sheer genius.
Dating on taxpayer's tab
The Singapore government is fretting over the birth rate again and is offering financial incentives to solve the problem.
In an effort to get 75,000 singles to wed, the government is offering to subsidise dating costs to the tune of S$500 per person. A government campaign is to be launched to encourage singles between 20 and 25 to expand their social circle, even to use dating agencies to find their life partners.
The number of men aged 30 to 34 who are now single has reached 42 per cent, while 30 per cent of women this age are single.
The Singapore government has been trying to promote itself as being trendy and progressive. Maybe it could take this to the next level - and at the same time put one over Hong Kong - by allowing same-sex marriages.