Lai See
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 12:42am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 12:42am

Talking point

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.
 

We see from China Digital Times the internet is abuzz with rumours that Shang Fulin, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, is under "dual designation" ( shuanggui), a type of detention reserved for government officials. While whispers about Shang started to emerge as early as 2011, President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, and the reported investigation of former security czar Zhou Yongkang, has netizens speculating over which "tiger" or high-level official Xi will catch next. Spice to the rumours has ironically been intensified by the official blocking of search terms including Shang's name on Sina Weibo, the mainland's equivalent of Twitter. The following search terms have been blocked. Shang Fulin+be captured, ShangFulin+beeliminated (as in a contest), ShangFulin+gain wealth by unfair means, ShangFulin+graft.

 

The unintended consequences of long names

Organisations with long names do themselves a disfavour. These names take up a lot of space on letterhead stationery and business cards. It can look awkward on advertising, people forget the name, and so on. It can also lead to clumsy internet handles.

Many companies have found the way round the problem is to adopt an acronym. So it was with some interest that we heard from our man on the spot that at the entrance to Book City in Shenzhen is a big advertisement for the Si Chuan University MBA in Guangdong. Those requiring more information on the course were invited to look up the website at www.scumbagd.net

We have been sceptical of MBAs since Enron and George Bush, but surely this is a little harsh.

The unintended consequences of shortening names to acronyms reminds us of the solution by Africa miner, Societe de Developpement Industriel et Minier De Zaire. You can find it at www.sodimiza.com

 

Good and bad for Hong Kong

There is both good and bad news so far as employment is concerned for Hong Kong's finance industry. There will be demand for all-round bankers this year. That is, bankers must have good content knowledge of their sectors and have client connections enabling them to execute, the website efinancialcareers reports.

Lay-offs are expected to be comparatively low. There may be some trimming but nothing like last year.

The lifting of the ban on mainland initial public offerings will generate jobs particularly in corporate finance.

Sarah Harte-Spencer, a director of global markets at headhunter Sheffield Haworth, told the website that the vice-president talent pool in Hong Kong was "barren". This means that vice-presidents stand to get well paid.

Furthermore, mainland banks will be hiring in Hong Kong, which will be good for Putonghua speakers. As mainland firms engage in cross-border investments overseas, Hong Kong is one obvious destination, and mainland banks are expected to recruit in anticipation of this.

Natural resources are also thought to have good prospects, with mainland firms buying up resources overseas.

 

New rules for companies

We see the Indian capital markets regulator SEBI is mulling proposals for a new corporate governance code for listed firms. The new code would require companies to justify high executive salaries, put in place an orderly succession plan, adopt a whistle-blower policy and limit the number of directorships a person can hold. Thank goodness nobody is contemplating such madness here. Why put Hutchison Whampoa chairman Canning Fok Kin-ning and others through such unnecessary embarrassment?

 

Pancake race

Never let it be said that Hong Kong is not an exciting place to be. We can reveal that Clifford Chance is partnering with a local non-governmental organisation to bring the first ever pancake race to the city. This is not mere eccentricity but the aim is to raise money for Feeding Hong Kong, which distributes surplus food to people in need. The event will be held at the Hong Kong University campus in Pok Fu Lam on Shrove Tuesday March 4. In Britain, this day is traditionally celebrated by eating pancakes and running pancake races.

 

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

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