Entertainment mogul Albert Yeung Sau-shing, one of Hong Kong's richest businesspeople and the man behind the city's top singers, has admitted he feels inferior if he carries less than HK$50,000 in his wallet.
In a rare public appearance yesterday, the 69-year-old Emperor Group founder addressed about 600 people at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai to share his secrets to success and expound on his autobiography, Work Hard, which he published in March.
The forum, organised by a radio station, was scheduled in time for the book's release but was delayed by a typhoon.
Yeung spilled more titbits about his private life, previously unknown to the public.
"I always have HK$40,000 to HK$50,000 cash in my pocket, or I would feel uncomfortable," he said, explaining the need sprung from having grown up poor.
"I like lending money to others," he said. "It springs from a sense of inferiority. My dad borrowed from loan sharks. Now I feel good being a creditor."
Having confessed to controversial episodes in his book, such as cheating with celebrities while married to his now ex-wife Ren Manling, Yeung yesterday shared lighter details, such as habits and quirks - including being obsessed with neatness.
In the past 40 years, Yeung has placed stationery on the exact same spots on his desk and needs to keep his clothes "tidier than any boutique" with 40 suit jackets on the right side of his dressing room and white shirts on the left.
"If any sauce drops on the dining table, I would be very unhappy, as though my business had failed," he said.
Still, Yeung cuts an impressive figure in public, which he says is due to his perseverance and the right business strategies.
He now ranks 32nd on Forbes' list of Hong Kong's wealthiest men and is best known for nurturing Canto-pop stars Joey Yung Cho-yee, Leo Ku Kui-kei and Nicholas Tse Ting-fung.
"On the first day, when Nicholas Tse joined my company, I told him not to learn from his father. His dad is a loser," he said, referring to the bad investments actor Patrick Tse Yin made in his youth.
Yeung also tells his stars that buying properties is a must.
Consequently, Tse is "Lyndhurst Terrace's Li Ka-shing" as he owns so many shops there, according to the tycoon, while Yung also has bought about six luxury properties.
Emperor Group itself spent HK$363 million on a 750 sq ft shop in Tsim Sha Tsui last week, making it the most expensive shop in Kowloon per square foot.
"It could be an expensive deal," Yeung said, "but never a wrong deal."