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FOCUS: CHINA

Of 8s, China and basketball

DAN-CHYI CHUA

Every year there is a draft that no one dodges. In fact there are more aspirants than there is space on the list.

Everyone knows by now the Olympics began on August 8, 2008, because the Chinese think the number "8" is lucky. Well, they may have one Italian backing them up on that one.


Chinese cliffhanger

LEE HAN SHIH

Beijing may have pressured Chow Yun-Fat to return to the John Woo film, "Red Cliff", raising questions of whom he will replace.

There is an old saying in China: "When it comes to money, friendship goes out the window". Tell that to director John Woo and his very good friend, Chow Yun-Fat.

Woo is the director of "Red Cliff", a new Chinese movie that tells the story of the most famous battle in Chinese history, which took place in the second century BCE during the period called The Three Kingdoms. On the first day of shooting, Chow walked off the set. He didn't give any reason.


Billionaire blossoms

LEE HAN SHIH

Yang Huiyan of Country Garden Holdings Co. has supplanted the "wastepaper queen" as the richest woman in China.

Wasn’t it only a few months ago that Zhang Yin, founder of China’s largest paper recycling firm, was named the richest woman in the country? Well, she has now been replaced.


Sibling rivalry

LEE HAN SHIH

The "unofficial official" ruling that prevents smaller Chinese companies from listing in Hong Kong is good news for its "sister" exchanges.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has made a bad mistake: it forgot to watch its back. Now it's been knifed by its two "sister" exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

HKSE has never really considered the mainland exchanges to be anything but pitiful little siblings that needed the occasional handout. It has focused most of its resources on fighting with worthier counterparts in Singapore, London and New York for new listings, especially those from China.


Nuclear buddies

LEE HAN SHIH

France is in the process of sharing some of its nuclear technology with China and the world would do well to take note.

In China more than half a billion people are learning English, but only a handful are learning French. Yet the upcoming presidential election in France has captured the attention of Beijing much more than the imminent change of leadership of Britain's ruling Labour party.

Tony Blair, prime minister of the UK, is a vaguely known entity among China’s population of 1.3 billion. But Jacques Chirac of France is a household name.


Going to his head

LEE HAN SHIH

An old man in the ancient city of Nanjing has become a multi-millionaire by punting on just one stock — Guizhou Maotai.

In January, the share price of the listed white wine brewery shot past 100 yuan, the fourth company on the Chinese stock exchanges to have achieved this landmark.

maotai


Closing in

LEE HAN SHIH

Shanghai Gang boss Jia Qinglin is probably feeling the heat as Lai Changxing offers to squeal on him.

Patience has its own rewards. For Lai Changxing, 48, China’s most famous economic fugitive, a seven-year wait has finally begun to bear fruit.


Have money, will travel to space

LEE HAN SHIH

China's first space tourist will be Jason Jiang Nanchun of Focus Media, if the rumours can be believed.

In 2008, some 50 million Chinese will travel outside their country and visit other parts of Earth for pleasure. And one man will leave Earth and go into space.

The identity of China's first space tourist has become a matter of speculation in China's business circles. So far it is known that it is a man under 40, from the southern Zhejiang province, who is unmarried and deals in electronics. Also his surname is Jiang.


From road king to road kill

LEE HAN SHIH

The bell is tolling for Zhang Rongkun who once had a net worth of US$605 million.

It took Zhang Rongkun 34 years to claw his way up from nothingness to having a net worth of 10 billion yuan. It took him just three years to topple himself from that lofty height, to become a prisoner of state and a witness in one of the biggest scandals in modern China.


Outfoxing Henry

LEE HAN SHIH

By all accounts, Henry Fok was a hard act to follow.

The Chinese like to say that the best time to assess a man is when you are closing the lid of his coffin. But for Henry Fok Ying-tung, opinions are still mixed after the 83-year-old tycoon was laid to rest in Hong Kong following a state burial of the highest order.


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