Investment bankers go from being business competitors to newlyweds
Six years after first meeting, bankers Emily Kwong and Zhang Ling clinch a romantic deal
When Emily Kwong and Zhang Ling met on a cold winter's day in Shanghai, the investment bankers were not expecting to become friends.
They were competitors looking to close a deal. But six years on, they sealed a partnership that they hope will last for the rest of their lives.
The couple were married on September 9 in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, celebrating with about 300 friends and relatives.
"I though he was treating me as a competitor and was so serious all the time," Emily said of their encounter in Shanghai. "I really didn't think he would be my type, let alone become my husband one day."
After that first meeting, they lost touch for almost two years. They next met in late 2008 when Emily ran into Ling in his office building, and they stopped for a quick chat.
Emily thought little of the encounter, but Ling was left besotted by her smile. Nevertheless, although they kept in touch, they continued to see each other only occasionally at work-related meetings.
Last year, they finally went out on their first date. They both realised they had more to talk about than just business. "I felt we were quite in sync. We talked about work, movies and golf - things that we are both interested in," Emily said.
Emily was eventually won over by Ling's sincerity. After a few dates, he told Emily about his feelings for her in a very straightforward manner.
"He told me that he felt we had a lot in common and wanted to see if I could give him the chance to 'further develop the relationship'," Emily said, laughing.
"It almost sounded like a business proposal."
Although Ling did not deliver the most romantic of lines, Emily appreciated his openness and honesty. "The other guys I had dated always kept things vague in the beginning.
"But Ling really showed me a lot of commitment and effort to build a future together. I was very touched."
Although they both have a hectic work life, they try to set aside time for their personal life.
"Ling is by nature a workaholic but he really makes an effort to make our relationship work. He planned my birthday trip to Japan and showed me around his favourite spots when we were in Shanghai."
After dating about a year, Ling surprised Emily with a marriage proposal when they visited Ling's family on the mainland.
"I always told him I wanted a romantic and surprise proposal. I had expected him to maybe propose to me when we were on holiday overseas in a romantic setting and all, but what he did was indeed a surprise."
Ling proposed to her in a rented car. He had prepared a bouquet and asked her to marry him. Even before Emily said yes, Ling got emotional and almost teary. Emily was the one smiling when she said yes.
"Ling is a very driven and high-calibre individual," said Emily. "He gives me a strong sense of security that I didn't find in anyone else before. I tend to be the emotional type but he handles me well and always helps me to see things from a different angle."
The newlywed couple plan to visit New Zealand next month for their honeymoon.