When we were young watching Hong Kong dramas with grandpa and grandma, there was this song which constantly appeared in the dramas and the lyrics go "Hong Kong, we like Hong Kong! Kowloon Hong Kong, it's a place for you!" The songwriter probably made good sense. The city is dense but safe, and you can almost find anything you need within walking distance in most areas, 24-7!

As long-only investors, we are naturally optimistic. So let's start with pleasant surprises (the PS)...

PS 1 - Seamless public transportation system. Here's how we got to our hotel from the airport.

PS 2 - Seeing our names appeared on TV inside hotel room (picture 4 above). A little personal touch in services goes a long way :)

PS 3 - Foods! From fine dining up at 103-floor 490m above the ground, which costs USD80-90 for a main course, to a simple breakfast of soybean milk plus "yau zar kway", which costs no more than USD6, Hong Kong culinary scene has lots to offer. (Note: "Yau zar kway" is Cantonese for Chinese fried breadstick. In direct translation, the words mean "oil fried ghost"!)

PS 4 - We had a total of 14 meetings over 2.5 days. Amidst consensus view of a slowing Chinese economy, we were happy to meet a few companies which we think they could double their earnings over 3-5 years. We also met the Founder and Chairman of a huge and growing asset management company and learnt from him the ingredients of building a successful asset management company. The only regret was the meeting was too short although the Chairman was so generous to spare us an hour of his precious time. We hope we would meet him again. There is so much to learn.

Now, less-pleasant surprises (the LPS)...

LPS 1 - Rising costs of living and doing business. Rent is ever escalating. Local people and friends who have been staying in Hong Kong for over 5 years were complaining that good old traditional shops that represent authentic flavours of Hong Kong are vanishing slowly. One-by-one, they are being forced out by the rising rent. Since a lot of the operators are older folks, they find it pointless to move to new places and start afresh.

LPS 2 - Mass demonstration which led to blockade of main roads in busy areas like Mongkok, Admiralty and Central, affecting daily commute and businesses nearby. Lucky for everyone, it was a peaceful protest (at least that was what we observed when we were there) with protesters trying their best to abstain from further aggression and policemen did their best to maintain public order. We suspect the sites generated some tourist dollars for Hong Kong (do not take this seriously) as they quickly became tourist attractions. Tourists and passersby were taking pictures at the sites.

A place for everyone indeed.

- The end -



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