HOLLYWOOD has its stars, Europe its aristocracies and Hong Kong its tycoons. In the early days colonial traders ruled the roost, only to be superseded by a new breed of local entrepreneurs. As property prices soared, trading and shipping companies shifted into real estate. Now, as Hong Kong moves into the 21st century, what will be the next stage of development? If the lessons of the past are anything to go by, future business leaders will come from new sectors of the economy. Much has been made of the knowledge-based economy as the driving force behind the rejuvenation of business. Will tomorrow's leaders come from hi-tech start-ups or small, innovative companies, or will the scions of the ruling elite evolve and adapt to face the challenges ahead? Perhaps the face of Hong Kong business will change altogether. Following the Asian crisis, investors have awoken to the importance of quality management. Corporate governance and transparency have leapt to the top of the investment agenda. Perhaps the age of the tycoon is over - efficient technocrats, not dazzling autocrats, may be the face of the future. At first glance, Hong Kong and China Gas may seem an unlikely place to begin our search for the answer to this puzzle. Limited in its scope for expansion by Hong Kong's geography and the mature market in its core business - the provision of piped gas - the question for managing director Alfred Chan was how to provide shareholder value, returns on invested capital and move forward.