Magazine article Marketing

Hong Kong Is Too Good for China - as It Was for Us

Magazine article Marketing

Hong Kong Is Too Good for China - as It Was for Us

Article excerpt

Alert readers will long since have noted that, careless of his own comfort, this columnist will make any sacrifice when on the scent of a good, or even half-good story. No bar is too crowded, no restaurant too overbooked, no caravanserai too remote to keep me away. On June 30, therefore, I joined the revels at The Regent Hotel, Hong Kong, eager to play my modest part in ensuring that what one paper called a tradition of "wretched excess" was maintained.

In response to the jubilation from the Chinese as the British flag was hauled down, the man next to me - an emigre from Castro's Cuba - said: "I can't believe these people are applauding the arrival of communism". Mind you, I couldn't believe the drunks at the back of the room were singing Rule Britannia when it was so abundantly clear that Britannia ruled no more.

I asked my neighbour how Asia compared with Latin America. Both were corrupt, he said; but in Asia the bribes stay and enrich the community. In Latin America they go straight to Swiss bank accounts. He also said there was little company loyalty in Asia (very wise, since few loyalties are less substantial than that of firms to their employees). Everybody wants fast results before moving on to the next I job. That means quick sales I rather than long-term brand building.

The Chinese leaders looked smug and uncommonly ruthless to me. "They are well aware, said my new acquaintance, "that they have one-fifth of the world's consumers, and are using this as a big weapon with the multinationals, who are desperate to get at this vast market. …

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