• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:03pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 3:53am

Strauss-Kahn gives South Sudan some 'special attention'

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

After some time out of the limelight following his spectacular fall from grace in 2011, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resurfaced in unusual circumstances.

It will be recalled that his stellar career was derailed by a lurid scandal involving a sexual encounter with a maid at a New York hotel. Criminal charges were laid but subsequently dropped. Various other colourful stories surfaced during this period.

However, the reason Strauss-Kahn has been the subject of attention recently was relatively mundane.

He flew to Juba in South Sudan to open a new bank, the National Credit Bank, and to explore investment opportunities in the new nation, the website allAfrica reports.

Strauss-Kahn has apparently reinvented himself as a financial consultant, although there is some speculation that he may have a stake in the bank.

He told reporters after his arrival at the airport: "I believe that a country like South Sudan deserves some special attention."

Hopefully, not of the kind that has troubled him previously.

 

Breezin' up Everest

Standard Chartered is literally reaching for the summit in promoting its new suite of mobile banking applications.

It has come up with the imaginative wheeze of persuading two mountaineers on an environmental expedition to the Himalayas to use the new apps to do stock trades and other banking functions as they ascend Everest.

A lot of banks already have this ability so presumably, Standard Chartered felt it had to go to extremes to make an impression.

The two mountaineers, Horacio Cunietti and Horacio Galanti, have "already made history", as StanChart says in its press release, by conducting the world's first stock trade at Everest's south base camp, at 5,364 metres, with the bank's Breeze Trade app, thus proving, as the bank would have us believe, that with the app, "it is possible to bank anytime, anywhere".

And yes, as you may have guessed, the aim is to do a trade on top of Everest.

Unsurprisingly, the stock traded was Standard Chartered - 50 shares at HK$187.20 each - on Hong Kong's stock exchange. It is tempting to say that it's all downhill from now on, but that would be too easy.

 

Underwhelmed at the Avery

Sino Land's efforts at selling the remaining 21 units at the Avery in Kowloon City were nothing, if not, underwhelming. In the first hour at the sales office at Olympic Station in Tai Kok Tsui, a handful of prospective buyers turned up, against a pack of 20 waiting reporters eager to interview them.

We gather that one unit was sold yesterday. That is pretty slow by Hong Kong standards. The sale comes two weeks after new rules came into effect to protect buyers from less than desirable marketing practices that have plagued the property market for years.

Unit sizes at the Avery ranged from 225 to 316 square feet, and they sold for about HK$20,000 per square foot.

Although they are not exactly large flats, they sold for almost twice the price of those in Taikoo Shing, which are much bigger and considerably older. But maybe we're being naïve.

 

Women in oil

Those of you racking your brains as to how to attract more women into the oil and gas industry might care to reflect on the advice of Elena Anisimova, a training and development manager at Russia's second largest oil company, Lukoil.

After noting that the industry is dominated by men, she says the requirements for each are not so different: "The problem is with cultural and social issues."

The industry needs to make a concerted effort to support and attract women, she says. "For example, a popular movie where women would be presented as a hero working on the oil field and saving the ecosystem could help to attract the attention of a new generation."

The stuff of Hollywood.

 

Terminal decline

Has anyone at Bloomberg been fired yet, the London Evening Standard asks, after the scandal over its journalists spying on clients' use of Bloomberg terminals. "If only we could see when staff last logged onto their terminals." So droll.

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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