Money and food go down well in Sydney and HK

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am

Sydney has long been one of the most popular migration destinations for Hongkongers for a good reason - the inhabitants of both cities are equally keen on making money and enjoying good food.

White Collar was in Sydney last week to cover an ANZ seminar on yuan business down under. Besides the seminar being all about money, I also found that Sydney-siders generally are always thinking of ways to boost their earnings. It started with my driver Bill. During the 30-minute trip from Sydney airport to the hotel, Bill unveiled his big business plan. 'I am planning to get into commercial fishing. Hong Kong and Chinese people like seafood, right?' Bill asked. His plan was to set up a food processing plant on the Solomon Islands to make canned lobster, fish and crab to export overseas to markets including China and Hong Kong.

While admiring his entrepreneurial spirit, White Collar pointed out to Bill that Chinese people generally prefer fresh lobster or fresh fish rather than frozen or canned food. Bill, however, said it be hard to export fresh seafood as the cost of transportation would be too high. Somewhat disappointed after learning Chinese people are not enthusiastic about canned seafood he did not give up and suggested cats as alternative customers. On behalf of my cat, I would like Bill's business plan to come true.

The question of money continued as White Collar arrived at her hotel. The porter was a young Australian man Daniel who happened to have lived in Hong Kong in his childhood. He is a permanent Hong Kong resident and was happy with Financial Secretary John Tsang's HK$6,000 giveaway although he's not clear on the reason for the generosity. He is proud to be a Hong Kong resident.

Many Hongkongers now living in Sydney's Chinatown, were also happy with HK$6,000 giveaway and many had queries about the details of the payout. Some suggested that Chinatown restaurants offer banquets valued at HK$6,000. With the big Chinese community in Sydney, including about 200,000 from Hong Kong, that would certainly boost restaurant sales.

Ray Chan, a Hong Kong migrant who is now managing director of Henson Properties, a property agency in Chinatown in Sydney, suggests the government could work with airline companies such as Cathay Pacific or Qantas to encourage trips back home to Hong Kong. 'This would encourage emigres to go back and spend money in Hong Kong,' Chan said.

Not a bad idea, but with the recent strength of the Australian dollar, the payout's not a enough to pay for a Hong Kong-Sydney round trip.

Sweet birthday greetings

It is true, they will say happy birthday to you. White Collar flew to Sydney on her birthday and Linda, the friendly Cathy Pacific crew member, presented her with a birthday greeting on boarding. She was later handed a birthday card signed by the whole crew. A small but sweet token. To Linda and your crew, thank you very much.