London says yes to the yuan, no comment to local politics

  • 2015-09-23

  By Kumiko Lau Upon the devaluation of renminbi in August and despite market uncertainty, London stood firm in supporting the internationalisation of the Chinese yuan. Alderman Alan Yarrow, Lord Mayor of City of London and the British representative of financial and professional services industry said last Friday that the devaluation of yuan did not change the United Kingdom's view on developing itself into the largest renminbi centre in the West.While China is mulling a 15 to 20 per cent devaluation of its currency by year-end 2016 according to research firm IDEAglobal, Mr Yarrow said that it was inevitable for China to devaluate its currency alongside with the continuous growth of renminbi business. "It is an ideal strategy for China to use its reserve to stabilise the volatilities of the currency under its current transitional economy model." He added that the devaluation of the renminbi also complemented the stage of the journey for the government to rebuild its economy. And that London is supportive over the inclusive of yuan in the International Monetary Fund's mixed currency international reserve asset, Special Drawing Rights which the next review will happen in October 2016.   On the flip side, when Mr Yarrow was asked to comment on whether the Chief Executive of Hong Kong overrides the separation of power, he said that one country two systems inevitably brings conflicts into the play but he has no doubt that this system and the rule of law are critical to the development of trade. He however refused to further elaborate the UK's stance on the democratic development in its former colony. He said that it was to the Chief Executive and the Beijing government to comment and articulate on the matter. "We believe that the Chinese government is very keen on universal suffrage even though this is not included in the Sino-British Joint Declaration." Mr Yarrow will …


Chinese market plunge puts off Hong Kong individual investors

  • 2015-09-01

  By Viola Zhou   Autumn semester is starting in a few days but 22-year-old Mr Kowin Lee has more than grades and timetable to worry about. The third year business student at Hong Kong Baptist University had lost more than $70,000 in the past month as the Chinese stock plunged. "That's about 40 per cent of my total investment," Mr Lee says. "The crash is so dramatic." Mr Lee is one of the many individual investors who have suffered from the excessive volatility of the Chinese equity market in late August. They are worried that the wild plummet will carry on after several months of market fluctuation. Last month, the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index had fallen by 12.5 per cent, the worst monthly loss since September 2011. Nearly $3,000 billion evaporated from the market within four weeks. The Index went down for seven consecutive trading days since 14 August and on it's worst day, dubbed the "Black Monday" by Chinese media, the Index tumbled 5.17 per cent hitting the lowest since May 2014. The fall was caused by a series of panic sell-off in mainland China. Mr Louis Lam, an economist at ANZ research, says China is the world's second largest economy and a slump there will spill over to all the stock markets in the region, including Hong Kong's. "Hong Kong stock market is very inter-related with China's economy," Mr Lam says. "A lot of Hong Kong-listed companies have businesses in China." Within August, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped by more than 12 per cent while Shenzhen's index fell by 15 per cent. Over 6,000 billion yuan (about $729 billion) was whipped away. To halt the drop before the "Victory Day" military parade on September 3, it did not take long till Beijing, again, placed in the …


Smartphone-operated toys the way to go

  • 2015-02-24

Hong Kong toy industry has thrived by developing remote-control apps   Hong Kong toy manufacturers may have lost their former clout as the world's biggest player, but the industry's surviving operators have succeeded in using technology to maintain the appeal of their products, from dolls, model tanks to model guns. E-Supply International Limited is a manufacturer and exporter of various kinds of radio-controlled toys. In 2012, the company attached a camera to one of its products, the quadcopter, which was originally a remote controlled multi-rotor miniature helicopter. Now a user can control the quadcopter and shoot real time videos of 640x480 pixels resolution in the air, with the moving images appearing in real time on the screen of his smartphone. E-Supply opened a line named i-Toys especially for the application-controllable toys. "A smartphone is a must-have right now. Toy makers have to stick with the trend and advance with time. So we combine toys and smartphones together," said the company's business development manager Ms Kenes Cheung. She said the trend of embracing toys that connect with smartphones was "unstoppable" and the company was therefore "actively producing more user-friendly apps". "We have thought of building an app that is universally applicable to all of our i-Toys products," Ms Cheung added. "Let's see what will happen". Although the relevant technology is already quite mature, toy manufacturers still face many difficulties. Few years ago, AR Attack, a local toy company that made miniature water guns in the 60s, created an alien shooting app calls ARliens. This app incorporates augmented reality technology by overlaying computer-generated content on to a real-life image captured on a smartphone to turn the product AR Gun into a virtual shooting tool. Players can battle with virtual enemies in the tailor-made app when a smartphone is attached to the toy gun and connected via Bluetooth. The …


Taxi Apps Change Market Ecology

  • 2015-01-09

Illegal fare discounting is common among app users


Hong Kong's Grey Market for iPhone 6

  • 2014-12-09

A new iPhone is a lot more than an ordinary smartphone, it's also an investment to some buyers. After reserving the limited offering of iPhone 6 online every morning, some customers resell it to other private users and shop owners in Mong Kok and Shenzhen to earn the price difference. More than 10 million new iPhones were sold over the first three days after entering the market on September 19. But it is still soaring high after a month's sale. At 8 sharp every morning, customers scramble to make online reservations for the limited offering of iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. At 8.04 am, the reservations are usually fully occupied. "IReserve (iPhone online booking system) makes me feel frustrated," said Mr Mark Chan, a bank clerk who bought his iPhone 6 from Sincere Podium, a shopping mall that mainly sells mobile phones. "I like the new iPhone very much and I don't mind paying $400 more as I have to pay thousands of dollars for it." It is not easy for normal customers to order an iPhone online and this situation stimulates the grey market. Eason Tsang, a university student, is one of the skilled reservation makers surviving in the reselling market. "My friend started to resell iPhones on the first day of sale and he earned a lot, so I decided to join the reselling army," said Eason, who resold more than 20 new iPhones and earned $15,000 since then. Each phone number or credential number used to reserve an iPhone can only buy two phones, so he uses personal information from his friends to make the online reservations. After picking up the phones in Apple store, he resells them to shop owners in Sincere Podium in Mong Kok according to the reference price in Hong Kong Golden Forum. …


Struggling in the shadow of big companies

  • 2014-06-15

Young businessmen find their way to survive in this competitive business environment


Not for profits on the book

  • 2014-05-05

 Octopus' alliance with China's online shopping giant Taobao unveiled its ambition in developing online payment business, while consumers say they still prefer credit card amid security concerns.


Crowd funding takes root in Hong Kong

  • 2014-03-17

Crowd funding is gaining momentum in Hong Kong, but locals have yet to be ready to give away money for projects neither charitable nor creative.


China market shut to international e-cigarette companies

  • 2014-03-14

International electronic cigarette companies encounter barriers to entry in China, where their products are made.


Storytelling commercials

  • 2013-03-20

Advertisers are churning out advertisements that tell stories. Or are they rather stories that advertise?