henderson supremo lays harbour challenge on rival's doorstep Henderson Land and Cheung Kong (Holdings) are no strangers to rivalry. Their two big bosses may be cut from the same cloth and share common interests but fierce rivalry characterises the battle to develop the West Kowloon cultural project. They are also both pitching to get a slice of the planned cruise terminal, to be located somewhere inside the harbour. Cheung Kong has proposed that ocean-going liners should call at Hunghom, aka Li Ka-shing Land. Asked about his favoured destination during an interview with our reporters yesterday, Henderson chairman Lee Shau-kee claimed no preference, saying it was all up to government planners. Quizzed about the Cheung Kong blueprint in Hunghom, a nonplussed Mr Lee chuckled: 'It would be even better if it was built in front of his [Li Ka-shing's] doorstep.' A case of not [necessarily] in my back yard for the Henderson man. in the dark on hongkong electric Does Hongkong Electric protest too much about its interest in a British gas project bought by its parent firm? By way of reminder, the Li Ka-shing-owned utility told the stock exchange yesterday that it was holding talks with Cheung Kong Infrastructure to buy a share of the GBP1.39 billion (HK$19.4 billion) venture in northern England. A day before, it sent out the same message to the media. Hongkong Electric was not invited to bid for the British project in the first place, but its interest emerged only after the deal was announced. Lai See presumed that its formal announcement was made at the insistence of irritated regulators. Not so according to a company spokeswoman, who said the statement was made simply to 'clarify' price-sensitive information already in the market. Why all of this could not have been done on the same day remains a mystery. and li ka-shing let there be light Famous for offering public investors minimal disclosure, Li Ka-shing firms have been loosening up of late as a result of pressure from sell-inclined punters. We were intrigued to see that Mr Li's personal foundation is sponsoring a joint lecture between his home town's Shantou University law school and the University of Hong Kong on September 20. The topic is 'Learning from Enron', by University of Cambridge Fellow Simon Deakin, a professor of corporate governance. Mr Li's sprawling conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa has cast a little light on its operating accounts in recent times. This coincided with demands for more disclosure after scandals such as Enron and Parmalat and also a souring view on its third-generation mobile business. The approach seems to be working, with Hutch stock on an 11-day streak of unbroken price gains. It wasn't so long ago that brokerage CLSA asked whether the firm could be suffering a dose of 'Parmalitis' due to its being an opaque hedge fund masquerading as a ports-to-retail conglomerate. reach for the stars, not academics Beijing University Department of Finance professor He Xiaofeng knows the chances of hitting it big in China. In a panel discussion at the Beijing Forum on International Industry Fund, he said there was roughly a 30 per cent chance of success if you get the Beijing government section head to participate in a project, 50 per cent if you involve a department head and a perfect 100 per cent if you get the head of government. But if you get a scholar, your chance of success is zero. Being the Chinese capital, Beijing is worse than Shanghai and Guangdong when it comes to this guan nian, meaning concept. In Chinese, guan has the same pronunciation as 'official' and that tells the story. supplier seeks to claw back payment It seems you can have your lobster and eat it. A subsidiary of Hon Po Group Lobster King is being sued by its Australian seafood supplier for A$479,264 (HK$2.61 million) for non payment. In a High Court filing, E&B Kolvias Nominees alleges that it sent 13 orders of live rock lobsters between September and March, but has yet to receive its due. Lobster is staple fare for any Chinese seafood chain. When the firm listed we don't seem to remember any risk disclosures about potential problems paying for its great red crustaceans.