Hong Kong or Bust


I will be returning to Hong Kong in 3 weeks. This is the culmination of a 30 plus year Odyssey of getting clients and making connections. But most significantly, I want to experience first hand what has happened in the years since 1997, when Hong Kong transitioned from a British colony to a part of China.

In my twenties, I worked as a broker for Paine Webber, who had an incentive program with rewards of trips to Hawaii and Hong Kong. Many of my colleagues opted for the beaches of Hawaii, but I had read about Hong Kong in novels such as James Clavell’s “Noble House” and was fascinated by the place.

So I won the trip to Hong Kong and in 1983, boarded a plane in JFK bound for the West Coast of the US. From there I flew to Hong Kong and landed in Kai Tak Airport, which was like landing on a postage stamp in the middle of the city. I stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel on the Kowloon side of the city, which was brand new and very comfortable. My room had a stunning view of Queen Victoria Harbor with antique junks and modern tankers vying for space in this huge deep water port.

I will never forget the level of comfort and the excitement of being in Hong Kong, and as a young broker, I could see the great opportunities looming in China and Hong Kong. At that time, the 1997 takeover of China was very remote and no one was much concerned about the transition.

I went back several times after that trip holding seminars and picked up some clients, but I found it difficult to travel and we didn’t have adequate video conferencing in those days. Worse, changes to my company policy forbade prospecting anywhere outside the United States. I was very disappointed.

In the mid-90s, I was able to return to the city with a client in the US retail optical business. He and his partner travelled with me to Asia to attend an Optical Expo to find an eyewear manufacturer in China. Unfortunately, he could not find the quality he was looking for; to my way of thinking he missed an opportunity to develop business relationships there, but he left Hong Kong without looking back.

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So now I have reconnected with my network, and am planning to return to Hong Kong after an absence of two decades.

I really believe that Hong Kong will continue to be an important economy in its own right and will continue to be an important business center for China.

If I were to categorize the best investment areas in the world, Hong Kong would be on the top of the list—time and time again Hong Kong and China have been underestimated. The fact that Hong Kong has grown from a barren rock to a major center of international commerce with seven and a half million in just 130 years is a testament to the amazing growth potential in China.

Rather than being disgruntled by years of British exploitation, China has taken advantage of that situation and continued to develop Hong Kong—just another example how China continues to follow its own path in the world.


Another unique example is Shenzhen directly across the border in China. It was a small village when I first stopped there on the way to Guangzhou,(Canton), in the 1980s. It is now a industrial and financial center whose population was 200,000 in 1985 and has grown to over 12 million. It is also the location of the second biggest stock exchange in China. It is so important because it caters to the smaller cap tech companies that are powering China’s amazing growth.


I will keep all of you posted while I explore the best regional opportunities and what is happening in one of Asia’s most dynamic cities, Hong Kong.