THE South China Morning Post had grown so vigorously within the walls of its familiar Quarry Bay address that the need for a larger, purpose-built headquarters was clear by 1990, according to chief executive Lyn Holloway. 'It was a good year, business-wise, after the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989,' Mr Holloway said. 'After Tiananmen came a drop in business confidence for six to seven months, then it started to come back - and it came back with a vengeance. 'In early 1990, we had already ordered the final printing units and ancillary equipment that we could use in Quarry Bay to enhance our capabilities. 'After that equipment came in 1992, we were spread right along the length of the building and within eight inches of the roof.' Despite squeezing equipment into every corner of the press room and running a tight schedule of printing and maintenance, Tong Chong Street was unable to take in all of the thousands of pages printed under the Post logo each day. 'Whatever we did, we had to get out of the building at Quarry Bay,' Mr Holloway said. Finding the right site - at the right price - was the first task. A tight News Corp budget barred the Post from seeking financial help from the Murdoch group, which then had a controlling stake in the paper, and News Corp financing rules also put a bank loan off limits. The possibility of constructing a new Post headquarters while retaining and rebuilding the Tong Chong Street site was deemed financially unwieldy. 'We took the decision to look for a buyer and sell it outright. We would then know how much we would get and how much we could spend,' Mr Holloway said. Swires, which has large land holdings in Quarry Bay, offered the best deal - $500 million for the historic Post site at the top of booming Tong Chong Street. Meanwhile, two sites at Tai Po and others at Junk Bay had been considered and rejected when a parcel of land bordering the new town's industrial park, set auspiciously at the curve of the bay, became available. 'In order to get the Swire's deal done, we had to hand the [Quarry Bay] building back to them in a certain time frame - that was June 30 this year.' Timing became imperative. After six months' of accelerated planning, the first pile was driven. In October 1993, when development was already underway, Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok bought a controlling share in the Post. 'Immediately the buy-over happened, our financial restrictions were eased,' Mr Holloway said. It was agreed to buy further press hall and other equipment to be installed as the building progressed. The original scheme was to build the essentials of a new installation and then to complete the technological refurbishment over three or four years as our cash flow permitted. The Post sent its own executives and professional building team to Scandinavia and Germany to examine the state-of-the art production equipment it desired, including IDAB Wamac insertion equipment, which saves precious time on production schedules. 'It looks like a Meccano set but it's ingenious, it's out of this world,' Mr Holloway said. 'There are only two or three installations in the world where these inserters are being used.' Mr Holloway said the Morning Post Centre at Tai Po and the city office in Dorset House, Quarry Bay, would play a crucial role in plans for the next decade. 'We have to assume that we will be operating in China in two years. If a Hong Kong business can be ideally placed to operate in southern China - this is it. 'Our staff, when you look around, are young and computer-literate. In this business, like any business, fundamentally it is the people. Everybody's gung-ho, go ahead; everybody's talented.'