SMIC chief limbers up for torch run as investors whine In the light of how Hong Kong business leaders and politicians scrambled to become torch bearers, it is hard to imagine how things are much simpler in Beijing. Richard Chang Rugin, the Taiwanese entrepreneur who founded Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, the largest chipmaker on the mainland, will be bearing the Olympic torch in a 400-metre run in Beijing in August, his people told Lai See. We were made to understand that he did not seek the nomination or use his political connections. He simply wrote a letter to volunteer his service and got accepted - after 'verifying his patriotism'. Of course, patriotism is not a word people back home (in Taiwan) use to describe Mr Chang. Taiwan's biggest semiconductor firm, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, sued SMIC for years for its alleged intellectual property infringement. That's not going to dampen Mr Chang's enthusiasm. His people said he is getting in shape - running up and down stairs, for instance - knowing that he will be in the company of world-class athletes and a Chinese astronaut. SMIC's latest annual report features a runner sporting on his chest a stock code (0981) with the theme 'Moving ahead.' That is indeed what SMIC shareholders hope for, having seen the value of the stock fall 80 per cent in four years since its trading debut. A question of popularity We know how good Cheung Kong (Holdings) deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi is when answering reporters' questions. But, how good is he in asking questions? We heard that the elder son of Li Ka-shing, who will become the 25th torch bearer tomorrow, asked in a closed-door meeting with other torch bearers why they have to gather an hour earlier for the celebratory banquet in the evening. 'Thank you, sir,' a co-ordinator responded. 'It is a good question. We need to gather earlier due to possible traffic congestion.' If that person did not know how to address him by his last name, perhaps it's time Victor considers getting more media exposure. Oops! Wrong target On the subject of popularity, we also heard a story about Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, who went shopping earlier this week at Great, the fancy supermarket at Pacific Place. A supermarket employee came up to him, asking for a signature to support the government's pending food labelling law on organic food. 'Sorry, I can't,' a polite Mr Tang was heard saying. 'I am part of the government.' Spelling tutor needed Industrial and Commercial Bank of China got its first-quarter numbers right on the dot, but not its logo. A sharp-eyed reader pointed out to us that the photo on the front page of the business section yesterday showed the bank's name misspelled as 'Indutsrial.' The photo was taken last fall outside one of ICBC's Shanghai branches. With its first-quarter profit topping 33 billion yuan, we suppose management can afford to offer some spelling lessons. Extraordinary May Day guests How many mainland tourists will visit Hong Kong over the long Labour Day weekend? We know of one rich couple, for sure. Gome Electrical Appliances chairman Wong Kwong-yu and his wife and vice-chairwoman Du Juan will host the Gome Race Day today at the Sha Tin race course. Gome became the first Chinese company to sponsor a local race day last year. This year, it would be even more fun for the Wongs, who cashed in HK$2.2 billion two weeks ago from selling some Gome shares and 'took delivery' of their third baby - a girl - on the same day. Thank goodness, it's a lie Lai See learned with sadness that the Foreign Correspondents' Club might have lost its lease on government premises in Central. Rumour had it that the FCC was served a notice to vacate its historical perch above Lan Kwai Fong effective next year. Conspiracy theorists suggested it had something to do with the club inviting Darfur activist Mia Farrow to speak tomorrow, the same day as Hong Kong's Olympic torch relay. (It matters little that this also happens to be the week of World Press Freedom Day.) We were relieved later to hear a board of governors member say: 'Half the world has been calling. I don't know who's been spreading the rumour but it's not true. We have not been served any eviction notice.'