BIG BOYS BARGE IN You have to love the public spirit of Hong Kong's largest conglomerates. Hutchison Whampoa and Henderson Land Development have decided to support the motherland's biggest issue of the year, the US$3-billion China Life IPO. But where were they two weeks ago when the mega-deal was looking a bit shaky and China Life was less of a sure thing? Is Lai See too cynical in asking whether there is any connection between the announcements by these fair-weather friends of HK$200 million stakes and news the deal is already 11/2 times subscribed? As one fund manger put it, 'When a deal's this hot, I don't see how this helps, investors will be unhappy as they will now all get less shares.' Channel hopping In late 1999, Rupert Murdoch whizzed through Hong Kong and with much fanfare announced a major broadband-TV initiative with then Cable & Wireless HKT. Months later, Richard Li Tsar-kai's PCCW took over the main telephone company and the deal fell apart amid recriminations stretching back to Mr Li's sale of Star TV to Mr Murdoch. However, just to prove there is no such thing as enemies in the world of TV moguls, just shifting alliances, it was announced on Friday that some of Star's content will be distributed on Now Broadband TV. Rather like PCCW's 'a la carte' programming, it seems that friendships in the TV world can be bought off the shelf. yang a peach but no pear Yang Liwei, astronaut and the new hero of the nation, has denied any connection with the 'Yang Li Wei' brand of pears, which are produced in Mr Yang's home province of Liaoling. His eight-year-old said last week that his father does not even like pears.