There was more hot air
coming from the executives of Stone Electric Technology
yesterday than from a hair-dryer manufacturers'
After the red-chip's annual general meeting, incoming
chairman Duan Yongji reiterated the company's commitment
to restructuring and turning around its fortunes.
The problem is that Mr Duan
has been restructuring the low-margin electronics
manufacturer and distributor for the past six years. Bar
a brief foray into the black in 1999 the company has
been languishing in the red for the past four years.
According to Mr Duan, Stone is moving away from a
manufacturer of low-end calculators, printers, circuit
boards and monitors and into a provider of high-end
information technology solutions to mainland
enterprises. It has just taken some time.
Unfortunately, he was unable to furnish shareholders
with exact details as he might fall foul of Hong Kong
Exchanges and Clearing.
However, Mr Duan said it was now time to "trust me".
Asked what the main revenue generator would be for
the coming year, Mr Duan turned to his right-hand man,
executive director Chen Xiaotao, who promptly replied:
"The distribution of electronics."
Fake forum: Chinese officials may have been
slapping their foreheads last week after 15 years' work
to enter the World Trade Organisation appeared to
disappear down the pan.
Visitors to www.gatt.org (GATT is the abbreviation
for General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the
forerunner of the WTO) learned the organisation had
decided to "effect a cessation of all operations".
"The WTO will reintegrate as a new trade body whose
charter will be to ensure that trade benefits the poor,"
The cessation would be complete in September, less
than a year after China became the WTO's 143rd member.
The announcement forced Keith Rockwell to issue a
statement saying: "The communique is a hoax".
Confused? You aren't the only ones.
Mr Rockwell is the WTO's bona fide director of
information and media relations and www.gatt.org is the
brainchild of the "Yes Men".
"The release is quite cleverly written and it
expresses noble sentiments which include addressing the
problem of market access for poor countries and the
importance of considering the development dimension in
trade negotiations," Mr Rockwell said.
"Through the use of their Web site and other media
tools, the Yes Men have had impressive success in duping
various organisations around the world into believing
that they are representatives of the WTO."
Lai See checked the credentials of a media official
at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva (www.wto.org) who
then told us that the bogus site appeared to originate
in Washington DC.
"It does dupe people," he said.
He said the site broke international trademarks on
design and logos and could be sued in its national
However, the site jumps from one server to the next.
"We know who owns gatt.org. But we write to the
host servers telling them about the site," said the
According to Mr Rockwell: "While we
can appreciate their sense of humour, we would not wish
for reputable organisations like yours to be counted
among those duped."