Dead French king engineers the demise of Paul Y
Former employees of Paul Y Engineering, one of the most respected names in Hong Kong construction, have reacted with disbelief to plans to change the name of the firm to Louis XIII Holdings. The move has been prompted by the decision to build a five star 236-room hotel and casino complex, called Louis XIII, on the Cotai Strip in Macau. Paul Y Engineering, which "traces its origins to Shanghai in 1946" according to the firm's website, has been involved in building the North Lantau Expressway, the Cheung Kong Center, Polytechnic University and the Ting Kau Bridge among other projects. Danny Chung, a former Paul Y surveyor, said the name change was "unbelievable. Our predecessors will be rolling in their graves (or niches)". He added: "I can't think of a more embarrassing name for a company. To see Paul Y and other brother companies reduced to being a subsidiary of a French monarch …"
Our recent piece about a young mainland woman who lost her luggage on her first visit to Hong Kong has struck a chord with readers. It will be recalled that her taxi sped off with her luggage. The girl was initially told that the police could not help her, but they have subsequently asked for more information to help them with their inquiries. Another reader writes with a more cheery taxi tale. He and his wife got out of a taxi at the Macau ferry terminal during the Lunar New Year holiday and disappeared into the building, only to realise they had left their luggage in the taxi. He rushed back to the taxi rank to see if the taxi was perhaps still waiting. But it had gone. Thinking it may have gone round the block and come back, he walked along the line of taxis but without success. Just as he was turning away, a hooting taxi cut into the line of waiting taxis and out jumped the driver who inquired if our reader was missing his suitcase. Delighted that he would no longer have to endure his wife's wrath, he offered the driver a HK$200 reward. The driver took HK$100, saying that was sufficient compensation for his lost time.
The French way of working
The chairman of a US tyre company has told France's Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg, in less than flattering terms, what he thinks about French workers. The remarks expressed in a letter from Maurice Taylor, chairman of Titan International, explains why he is no longer interested in taking over some of Goodyear's operations in Northern France, Bloomberg reports. The French business daily Les Echos got hold of the letter and printed it. "I have visited the factory several times," Taylor wrote. "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told the French union workers this to their faces. They told me that's the French way!"
Bingo hits the mark
Investors in Bingo Holdings, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, will undoubtedly be pleased to see that its investment in the movie Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons looks set to become the mainland's next blockbuster. It took 640 million yuan (HK$789 million) in ticket sales in its first eight days, according to Caixin Online, and is expected to break the 1.3 billion yuan box-office record set by the low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand in December. Indeed, its first-day ticket sales of 76.9 million yuan broke a record set by Painted Skin: The Resurrection, which opened with 70 million yuan in sales. On February 14, sales for Journey to the West totalled 122 million yuan, a record for a single day. Bingo's share price bounced about 9 per cent shortly afterwards, though has since slipped back. Bingo, unusually for an investor in films, also trades coal, palm oil and derivatives.
To the Four Seasons for a sumptuous celebration at IFR Asia's annual awards. There were numerous awards - there seemed to be something for everyone. Goldman Sachs was bank of the year, Alibaba was issuer of the year for its efforts in raising almost US$8 billion, and HSBC was bond house of the year, to name but a few. Economist Andy Xie was guest speaker. He is undoubtedly a bright man, but it has to be said his economics is more easily comprehended by readers in the morning than by wine-addled brains in the evening.