Lai See

HSBC goes for cooler image at the Sevens this year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 12:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 12:53am

With the Hong Kong rugby Sevens extravaganza due to erupt in Hong Kong at the end of the month the principal sponsors HSBC and Cathay Pacific have been firing up their multimedia packages. As befits the times success lies in impact in the stadium and social media.

The themes of both sponsors incorporate a Twitter-ready hash tag. For HSBC it is #Bringyourgame while Cathay has opted for the party themed #thepartyhasarrived, the website Marketing Magazine reports.

The Saatchi & Saatchi video for HSBC has rugby players and tribes of fans dressed in outlandish costumes based around the idea that whether in the stands or on the pitch the Sevens is all about one-upmanship. It is accompanied by a pounding rap tune which could end up portraying HSBC as pretty cool when played in the stadium. Could this be a first?

Cathay Pacific continues as in previous years with a video that focuses on cute-looking flight attendants doing unusually clever things with a rugby ball. Another exercise in reverse stereotyping and, in our opinion, not as slick as in previous years. Nevertheless, given its subject matter, it will no doubt attract attention.


Lifebelt for cruise terminal

We see that Commissioner for Tourism Philip Yung has announced something called an Asia Cruise Fund while attending the Cruise Shipping Miami conference in the US. The fund, which appears to have been devised together with Taiwan, "will enable partnering ports to pool together financial incentives into a single scheme, enabling cruise lines to identify available financial incentives in developing itineraries that cover partnering ports". In this way "the appeal of the entire region" will be enhanced.

So, not content with having stumped up HK$8.2 billion to build the somewhat controversial cruise terminal which it couldn't get anyone in the private sector to build, the government has now decided that it is going to pay cruise lines to use it. The reason the private sector wasn't interested in building the terminal was that it was doubtful as to the likelihood of its commercial success.

It is of course early days but this plan smacks of panic. For the next two years there are about 40 dockings booked, less than half the 89 bookings for the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore between last June and next month.

But as Yung told Legco last year: "The start is never easy. We hope that with effort, usage of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will be bigger and confidence in the facility will grow." Hardly a ringing endorsement.


CLSA raises US$2.4m for charity

Stockbrokers CLSA raised US$2.4 million on Tuesday when all that day's commissions went to charity. It was the firm's seventh annual Dealing Day with all proceeds going to the CLSA Chairman's Trust, the charitable foundation formed in 2007 to honour its two founding chairmen, both now deceased, Jim Walker and Gary Coull.

Due to poor market conditions there was no Dealing Day last year, but the US$1.9 million the 2012 event raised was comfortably exceeded this year. These fundraising days have altogether raised US$23.7 million, which goes to the more than 115 charities supported by the trust, since CLSA shoulders the administrations costs. The trust focuses on grass roots initiatives due to its mandate of funding small to medium-sized organisations where its money can have a tangible and immediate effect.


Don't get caught

We hear of yet another story of a Swiss banker falling foul of the US Internal Revenue Service for helping American citizens evade US taxes by hiding their cash in offshore bank accounts. Andreas Bachmann, who used to work for a subsidiary of Credit Suisse, is the first of eight Swiss bank officials to admit wrongdoing in a case that dates to 2011.

Several weeks ago Credit Suisse agreed to pay US$196 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission for advising US clients without the required registration.

A statement from the Department of Justice noted that although Bachmann made several trips a year to the US and had been informed of the legal restrictions on his activities, his CEO was aware that Bachmann was violating US law. According to the statement of facts Bachmann was effectively told by the CEO: "Mr Bachmann, you know what we expect of you, don't get caught."


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