Kenny Wee swaps social columns for business pages
Catering boss Kenny Wee's name has featured frequently in the entertainment pages since his 2009 marriage to former actress and Miss Hong Kong contestant Suki Chui Suk-man.
He also gained lots of attention last year when a group of celebrities took drugs at one of his restaurants, and another time for a quarrel with an actor.
But Wee recently broke into the business pages with his HK$200 million acquisition of Hong Kong's first free newspaper, Metro Daily, from Swedish publisher Metro International.
Sitting in his Italian restaurant Alba in Causeway Bay, Wee said he was not a typical businessman. "If I was, I would add 50 per cent more tables here," he said. "But my priority is people feeling comfortable." Nor is he a risk-taker.
"I dare not take risks," he laughed. "Especially since I married four years ago."
Being able to pay HK$200 million in cash to buy Metro Daily was possible, he said, because most of his wealth came from investing in the Singaporean stock market.
"Singapore's stock market is not turbulent; it is stable, unlike here in Hong Kong," he said.
Wee said he believed Metro Daily was a safe investment and he could comfortably rely on the current management to guide its daily operation. "No drastic change will take place, no parachuting in of senior management," he said.
Wee, 41, was born in Hong Kong to a couple who own a small Indonesian restaurant in Sheung Wan. As a young man he went to Australia to learn business management. In the 1990s he made money by organising Hong Kong singers' concerts on the mainland.
He now runs three restaurants in Hong Kong, three in Taiwan and two in Australia, offering a variety of Japanese, Taiwanese and Western cuisines.
Even though he has been trying to diversify his business portfolio, Wee said catering would not be abandoned and would remain a "pastime" because of his strong interest in food.