Lai See

Chinese carmakers need to upgrade their names

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 3:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 3:07am

Good to see that mainland cars are improving technically. State-owned Guangzhou Automobile scored above-average in a closely watched industry quality survey, Reuters reports.

Guangzhou Auto, which sells cars under its own brand Trumpchi, had 97 problems per 100 newly sold vehicles in a survey published recently by market research firm JD Power & Associates. That was better than the average 119 problems and beat global names such as General Motors' Buick and Chevrolet, Ford Motor, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor.

Three of the mainland brands - Venucia, Roewe and Luxgen - also performed better than the industry average.

All this prompted JD Power's China vice-president Mei Songlin to observe that Chinese carmakers had "achieved tremendous improvement in vehicle quality in 2013". All they have to fix now is the branding. These names don't exactly slip off the tongue.


No lining for Silver Base

Two Hong Kong-listed companies announced profit warnings on the stock exchange website yesterday. Silver Base said it expected to record a loss for the six months to September on account of the economic slowdown and "a significant change in high-end baijiu market conditions in China".

The changes in market conditions the announcement refers to are, of course, the corruption crackdown, which has seen the high-end liquor and luxury goods markets plummet. The announcement offers no comment as to when the market might recover.

Sparkle Roll, which is mainly involved in motor dealerships on the mainland, also said it expected to make a loss for the period on account of tighter competition in the car distribution business, which provides 93 per cent of the firm's revenue. But it also drew attention to the "substantial drop in sales of top fine wines".


Rich dad syndrome

The CPA Australia Congress meeting in Hong Kong was treated to the wit and wisdom of Chung Po-yang, also known as Po Chung , who is a co-founder of DHL International.

Chung reckons that one way of assessing people is to consider them in terms of whether they are moral, caring or competent. He cited Gandhi and Confucius as examples of people who possessed all three virtues. Triad bosses, he said, were competent and caring insofar as they cared for their families and gangs, but they clearly lacked morality.

However, one set of people had no virtues at all and were lacking in morality, caring and competence. These were the wealthy children of tycoons who would one day inherit the founder's business empire.

The next speaker was Kam Hing-lam, group managing director of Cheung Kong Infrastructure, who felt obliged to point out: "I am not the son of a rich father." That is true, but he did marry Li Ka-shing's wife's sister, which puts him in the zone.


Help for poor children

It is a surprising but sad fact that there are more than 275,000 children in Hong Kong that live below the poverty line. This is according to David Boehm, chairman of The Hub Hong Kong, a charity founded last year by Boehm and fellow Australians Bruce Stinson and Bill Crews.

While Boehm and Stinson are businessmen working in Hong Kong, Crews is the chairman of the Exodus Foundation in Australia, a registered charity that fights against disadvantage in its different forms.

Earlier his year, the Hub found premises in an old church in Sham Shui Po that enabled it to establish its first Children and Youth Centre in Hong Kong. The centre provides a range of services to underprivileged children in Hong Kong. In addition to the Exodus Foundation, the charity has received support from the Rotary Club of Kowloon North.

The organisation raised HK$2 million from its Ascot-themed fund-raising ball last week.


A smell at Dell

Users of Dell's new Latitude 6430u laptops say the new computers are great except for one small problem. They smell of cat's pee. Some users initially blamed their pets. Dell has investigated the problem and says it relates to a manufacturing process, which it didn't specify. It suggested giving the case a good wipe, and if it still wasn't "purrfect", then get Dell to replace the palm rest assembly.


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