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Rise in local interest in an 'expatriate' event

Diana Danyi

Regarded primarily as the expat event in Hong Kong, the Rugby Sevens has seen an increase in attendance of local Chinese people - especially among the white collar corporate sector.

'Though there is a good mix of professionals at the Sevens, we've seen local attendance rise dramatically over the past 10 years,' said Sheel Kohli, head of corporate communications at Credit Suisse, Asia-Pacific.

In recent years, the organisers of the tournament have tried with mixed results to make the event more relevant to most of the local population. But that does not mean the Sevens is becoming a Hong Kong Chinese event - far from it. Fund managers and institutional investors coming from abroad make up about half of the conference attendees at the Credit Suisse AIC conference, and about the same proportion is reflected in the company's box at the Sevens.

Key clients of the bank come from all over the world, including North America, Europe, Britain and the two major Asian centres for fund management, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Due to the high ticket prices and the limited capacity of the corporate boxes, mainly senior people and key clients attended the Sevens for corporate entertainment purposes, said Guy Day, managing director for recruitment firm Ambition.

Though the Sevens might not make or break careers, it could certainly help to further them, he said. 'My tip would be to enjoy yourself without taking things to extremes and risk shooting yourself in the foot over a misguided remark or action,' he said. 'If your intention is enjoyment at all costs, queue for the south stand.'