Shanghai girls dancing to a different tune

SPRING is in the air, and thoughts turn to marriage. That's what the owners of Modern Romance Service Centre are hoping, anyway.

In an interesting socioeconomic comment, the company has set up a service for Hong Kong men wanting to meet women from Shanghai - it was handing out leaflets on street corners last week.

At $6,500 for three nights, it sends men up to the city and arranges dances and the like. If love starts budding, it can arrange private meetings.

Most of the publicity coming out of Shanghai seems to be that the city is booming and no one is dreaming of moving to Hong Kong any more.

If this outfit can find a ready stream of women willing to dance with Hong Kong men, maybe things aren't going so well.

Maybe all the women are bond traders down on their luck since Contract 327 exploded a few weeks ago.


Those who join with the aim of signing up a 'marriage' rather than marriage should be careful though.

According to our highly informed source, Hong Kong businessmen who want to impress their friends with a 'wife' in Shanghai find that many women in the city won't accept a fen less than 20,000 yuan (about HK$18,340) a month, much more than required for the same services in Shenzhen.

Free expression The strangely named Omni Marco Polo Hotel has a remarkable offer for foodies, their Omni Gold Card.

For only $888, you can get 18 free meals provided you bring along someone else to munch with.


Omni have clearly used the word 'free' in the way that some countries with nasty governments have a free press and free elections.

Super sellout GIVEN the gigantic amount of products shipped from these shores to K-Mart stores in the US, suppliers to the company could be justifiably worried by the news that K-Mart is likely to sell its Hong Kong buying office and definitely is selling its three executive flats in Central and Stanley.


Luckily, it appears that the cash-strapped retailer is only raising cash to pump into its beleaguered operations back home and will be renting here instead.

In the language of US brokers, K-Mart has been reporting disappointing earnings for eight straight quarters - companies in the US have to face the agony of producing figures every three months.

The company is also finding itself 'chief executiveless' because Joseph Antonini quit about two weeks ago, and the whole organisation is being told to get leaner and fitter.


K-Mart is also likely to sell its office in Taiwan and executive accommodation in Taiwan and Singapore. Some of it at least should net a tidy profit as the accommodation was bought ages ago.

Migration time LAST week we mentioned that the US Consulate was distancing itself from an entrepreneurial outfit called the United States Immigration Counsel, which is sending out misleading immigration junk mail that looks as if it had come from the US Government.

One recipient with an eye for detail seems to have noticed that the address label used by the firm bears an astonishing resemblance to that which appears on his copy of Time magazine.


Time's Regina Ng told us that 'it does look very similar' and started a search to see if this firm had bought access to its list, but without success.

Owners of prime lists like Time go to great lengths to ensure no one sneaks one on them, generally refusing to provide lists on disk - just piles of sticky labels - and also putting 'tracer' names on the lists for each mailing so unauthorised users can be traced.

Unfortunately, none of these techniques have worked in this case, and Time can't find any evidence of having sold the list to this outfit, despite our informant's label being character perfect - including a minor error.

Lippo service The Lippo Centre always has been the scene of property woes; the latest one being property speculators losing their $10 million deposits on office purchases faster than socks get lost in the laundry.

But maybe its luck is changing. Now opened in the basement is a New Age-style religious bookshop. Our informant browsed the shelves while TV screens showed videos of all sorts of people being saved by the Lord.

They should do well. They could set one up in Exchange Square and the nearby Law Courts.