• Wed
  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 8:47pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 3:56am

Never say Dai Mingfang, it sounds too feminine

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.
 

Why is it that Frank Dai Mingfang, the chairman of solar-panel equipment maker Hanergy Solar Group, is so careful about the use of his name? At a recent press briefing, he was asked by a sharp-eyed reporter why his name always appeared in his company's English-language press announcements but never in its Chinese ones.

Dai, from northern China, explained that people who don't know him might think he is a woman, since his name sounds like a woman's in Chinese. Dai said it was because many years ago, when parents worried that their sons might not live very long, they gave them names which sounded girlish, since this was supposed to ensure they lived a long life.

Another reason occurs to us, which is that, possibly, his name is less traceable internationally in English than in Chinese. Maybe we're being a trifle cynical.

 

Hello Kitty, goodbye toys

The mighty McDonald's has come unstuck in the island paradise of Singapore, with a marketing ploy that has earned it more hate than love.

The idea had an appealing simplicity: create Hello Kitty characters to give away with the new McDonald's McDelivery service that it was promoting. When the toys sell out, step back and enjoy, and profit from the buzz generated over social media. However, unfortunately for McDonald's, things did not run according to plan: its supply of cuddly toys, which was supposed to last a week, appears to have run out in a matter of hours.

Instead of feeling the love from thousands of grateful recipients of Hello Kitty characters, people vented their fury against McDonald's for not preparing enough Kitty stock.

McDonald's is an old hand at this sort of thing, having set up similar marketing stunts in Hong Kong over the years.

We recall one such promotion that got out of hand: thousands of people turned up to receive the figurine on offer and simply threw away the so-called "value pack" meal that came with it, leaving litter bins around its premises overflowing, causing widespread irritation among the populace.

 

Miss Hong Kong PhD?

TVB assures us that its Miss Hong Kong pageant will be a more compelling show this time than in previous years. This is because, according to Apple Daily, the "quality" of the contestants is a much higher than in previous years. Apparently, most of the young women TVB has interviewed for the pageant have MAs or PhDs.

 

Quick-to-fire brokers repent

The wild ride in Japanese equities in recent months has meant that those brokerages that made deep cuts last year have been left somewhat short staffed to handle a surge in transactions.

Those that exercised a lighter touch and maintained their sales and research staff are likely to have picked up market share, according to Reuters.

It reports that last month, the main board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange saw average daily turnover of US$40 billion, versus an average daily turnover of US$7.7 billion in more heavily staffed Hong Kong. The figures for May last year were US$12 billion for Tokyo and US$9.54 billion for Hong Kong. This year, Japan's share of global stock market volume has risen to 15 per cent from 7 per cent last year.

 

Keeping a tab on Fido

Anyone that attempts to stroll along the Sai Kung waterfront at the weekend will know that Hong Kong is home to a surprising number of dog lovers. We would like to draw their attention to a new iPhone application that enables them to monitor how much time their dogs and cats spend playing, running, sleeping and eating.

Called Whistle, the phone connects to a sensor worn on the animal's collar, enabling a pet's activity to be measured throughout the day, according to Reuters. It can track changes over time and even compare the activity to other dogs of the same breed. It can also help to detect problems early. The sensor costs US$99.95 but the app is free.

Another app, Pintofeed, links to a wi-fi-connected feeder, allowing owners to feed their dogs and cats remotely. Costing US$149, the software enables you tell when your pet has skipped a meal, or if its food is running low. Tagg, meanwhile, is a GPS-enabled device you can fix to your pet's collar to keep track of him.

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