Charles Li makes a big call on one country, one system
The Asian Financial Forum was enlivened, albeit briefly, by remarks by the stock exchange chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia. Speaking from the stage during a panel discussion he observed that he didn't think Hong Kong was sufficiently prepared for the mainland's looming great leap forward in terms of the liberalisation of the economy, the currency and interest rates. "Economically, mainland China and Hong Kong will be one country one system by 2020," he pronounced. Whoa - that's a very big call. What have you been smoking Charles? This is another variant of the death of Hong Kong story. Yes we all know the mainland is a big economy and is developing rapidly, but that's not to say it's going to eat Hong Kong's lunch in six years. By the time journalists caught up with him after he left the stage, he was already backpedalling saying we shouldn't make too much of his comments. Next he'll be saying his remarks have been taken out of context.
Chow Tai Fook 'ripped off'
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has tired of having its products copied on the mainland and has issued a stern warning to counterfeiters saying it had instructed lawyers to investigate and collect evidence of counterfeiting. The company is particularly concerned about its Bao Bao family collection which was launched in 2002 and has seen sales of some two million pieces. In its statement the company complains that jewellery retailers and online traders on the mainland website Taobao "have been knowingly infringing the company's intellectual property rights, including intentionally replicating the Bao Bao Family product concept of featuring lovely angels with different blessings ..." There's just no accounting for taste.
Green groups opposed to the government's proposed Shek Kwu Chau incinerator are waiting with interest to see if the government takes up an invitation by Air Products to visit the largest plasma gasification plant in the world when their Hong Kong delegation visits Europe in March.
The trip by officials from the Environmental Bureau, which will possibly include legislative councillors according to a briefing paper for the Legco panel on environmental affairs, is to learn about the development and operation of thermal waste treatment facilities.
The briefing paper notes that that the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator is "an essential tool to help Hong Kong reduce reliance on landfills". This begs the question of where the administration is proposing to put the ash which can be as much as 10 per cent by volume and 30 per cent by weight of the 3,000 tonnes per day feedstock.
The three-day visit will take in a small plasma gasification plant in Britain which handles about 150,000 tonnes a year of municipal solid waste (MSW) or about 50 tonnes a day which means that it is a small operation. It also takes in a visit to three incineration plants in Europe, one of which won't be completed until 2016-17. The Air Products project in Teeside is capable of handling 950 tonnes of MSW a day and is due to start commissioning in March. At the same time it is starting work on a second project of the same size. It will produce syngas which will be used to produce 100 megawatts of renewable electricity to power 100,000 homes. In addition an inert vitrified slag is produced which can be used by local aggregate companies.
The Air Products invitation is extended to the Hong Kong government and Legco officials, and members of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and members of the recently formed Waste Management Association. The response to the invitation will be an interesting test as to how seriously the EB is in looking at alternative technologies.
Grimmer moves on
Continuing the movement within corporate communications in banking we see that HSBC's communication's head honcho in Asia, Tom Grimmer, has resigned after about only 18 months in the job. His place has been taken by Malcolm Wallis, previously HSBC's retail banking global head of communications. We gather the departure was amicable. Grimmer had been based in Beijing and was expected to move to Hong Kong. But he wanted to stay in Beijing where his family is based.
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