Sage Of SAI WAN HO shows where THE real PROFITS ARE TO BE MADE Money makes money and Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee has a habit of being on the right side of the market. His private $50 billion Shau Kee Financial Enterprises has heavy exposure to yuan-backed assets, having invested in most mainland mega-stock offerings including China Shenhua, China Life and China Power. Mr Lee, aka Uncle Four, has apparently also thrived punting around international markets. His chief lieutenant, Colin Lam Ko-yin, yesterday revealed that Mr Lee had (it must be said this was not a unique insight) taken a bullish view on oil stocks and invested recently in European oil firms such as French Total, Royal-Dutch Shell and Italian ENI. 'Uncle Four is a global investor, he constantly looks for good opportunities not only in Hong Kong but also the rest of the world,' said Mr Lam, who doubles up as Mr Lee's portfolio adviser. On average, these stocks have yielded 10 per cent return in the past two months and between 18 per cent and 25 per cent thus far this year. Mr Lee's property flagship, Henderson Land, may have seen its stock slide 2.7 per cent this year, but, elsewhere on the home front, things look good given yesterday's successful privatisation of Henderson China. Forget the Oracle of Omaha, it looks like it would be more profitable to follow the Sage of Sai Wan Ho. zheng and oil diplomacy On a starry night, some dream of riches, others of loves lost and still others of the great Ming Dynasty explorer of the oceans, Zheng - to the plebes among you, he's the Chinese Christopher Columbus who journeyed to Africa, the Middle East and, perhaps, even further to America while Europeans were still drowning witches. Such a person is Bdallah S. Jum'ah, chief executive of the world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco, who is known to be 'an oil man by day and an amateur astronomer by night'. 'When I looked out at the same night sky [on a recent flight to Beijing] I was struck by the thought that the same stars guided Zheng and his ships so many centuries ago,' said Mr Jum'ah in a recent speech heralding Aramco's refining and petrochemical project with China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) in China. China and Middle Eastern nations have for centuries traded goods ranging from gold and silk to today's dominant commodity - oil. After so much interlocked trading history, it is good to see those savvy Arabs have learnt a thing or two about buttering up their face-loving hosts. a currency basket of guesses The million-dollar question set to vex currency dealers in the next few years looks to be just what currencies are in those individual baskets making up China's new more flexible yuan. It was a question that Bank of China spokesman Wang Zhaowen yesterday saw coming. 'If we guessed right, the People's Bank of China will be unhappy, if we guessed wrong, you media will be unhappy. 'You journalists can use your smart brains to guess ... try US dollar, yen, euro and pound.' Any more tips? discreet competitor Shanghai Tang's David Tang Wing-cheung may be surprised to find he has a new competitor in Beijing. Wandering around Oriental Plaza (Wangfujing) and Kerry Centre (China World shopping mall) in Beijing, a Lai See colleague was drawn to a familiar-looking store front displaying lushly coloured oriental cuts. For a moment, he figured that the 11-year-old Shanghai Tang had been spreading its wings until he caught sight of the signage and the subtly but distinctly different Shanghai Xu. Mr Tang, who rents a store at Beijing Capital International Airport, sniffily told Lai See, 'I am afraid I have not seen Shanghai Xu'.