Mike Grehan says...

Random musings about search marketing, flying around the planet, networking and people watching.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hong Kong.

I took the tram to Victoria Peak (known locally simply as "the peak") and marvelled as I looked across the skyline. I just knew that another love affair with yet another city, was about to begin.

Our new office is located in Central, which is downtown. There are the twin towers of the International Financial Centre which are known simply as IFC1 and IFC 2. IFC2 is the tallest building in Hong Kong. We're located in IFC1 which is the little brother. However, in the same building, our neighbours include, Google, DoubleClick, Oracle and a number of other tech and marketing companies. So, we're in very good company!

The night before the official opening event for our new office, Jim Banks ( a previous resident of Hong Kong for 20 years) took us all out for dinner to Lang Kwai Fong. This is a very dull and subdued area where it's hard to find a drink and something to eat... Er, to be truthful, you could die of having a good time in this place!

If you want to get noticed in this huge city to promote a new product, there are the usual ways to do it. You can use TV, Radio, Press, Outdoor, Internet... Or you could just get some people to carry you around on their shoulders while you wave around a carton of your new brand of milk.

The official opening event for our new Asia/Pacific Rim operation was held in the famous Happy Valley at the football club. It was a fairly intimate and very laid back event. And I was delighted that the President and CEO of Think Partnership Inc (our parent company) took the time to fly all the way out to join us. Scott P Mitchell is one of the smartest guys I have ever met in the interactive marketing space. He's also one of the greatest businessmen I've ever known. And yes, he's a hell of a nice guy too. So, as you can imagine, both Jim banks and I are very happy to have such a resourceful and talented guy for support in the venture. Here's myself, Jim and Scott at the opening event.

I have some good friends in Hong Kong. And a very strange thing with my buddy Eddie Choi. I wrote about a small world thing with Eddie when he, coincidentally, ended up sitting behind me on a random flight to Nanjing, China and just tapped me on the shoulder.

This time, I was I heading back on the subway to my hotel from the office and standing on the escalator, when - tap on the shoulder - there was Eddie again! In a city of seven million people that's quite spooky!

Here I am with Eddie and another buddy, Shri, who runs a niche ex pat business in Hong Kong and is also a moderator at Webmaster World.

A group of us went out for traditional Chinese food. Jim had been recommended a place by the concierge at our hotel. What a laugh that was. After first of all mistaking the stock pot for the soup course (yes were sipping the hot pot stock on its own) we then set about cooking our own food at the table.

As you can tell from the pic of Jim and Sheree, his lovely wife-to-be, just about everything got thrown in!

Ahhh... so that' s where my underpants ended up!

We met with all of the major search engines while we were there. We had great meetings with MSN and, as I mentioned, Google are in the same building as us. But I was particularly happy with a meeting we had with Yahoo! I spent some time with Yahoo!'s Frankie Ho in Nanjing. So it was great to catch up with him and his Boss Sammy Hsieh. We really do have some excellent joint initiatives to look forward to. Frankie is sitting next to Jim. And Sammy is next to me.

Someone I did spend quite some time with at both ad:tech Shanghai and SES Nanjing, is Inway Ni. He's joint venture partner with Incisive Media for SES, China. He's also part of the fastest growing online marketing company in China. So when he and his boss invited Jim and I to fly to his city in China for a catch up and dinner, we couldn't resist.

Inway is based in Xiamen which is a wonderful seaside resort. So it was a very casual and relaxed meeting we had. The seafront and promenade in Xiamen are as beautiful as you'll see anywhere.

And this time, when we had traditional Chinese food, there were no problems. Inway and his boss, R.Q. had booked a private dining room in the largest restaurant in the city. And then they proceeded to have served the most wonderful banquet you can imagine. The food was so varied and interesting. Of course, there was the big laugh when Inway asked Jim if there was any food he preferred not to eat, and he answered "seafood!" In a resort where the bulk of the fresh food comes from the sea, you can imagine the reaction that got :-)

And so, after a flying visit to meet with our new Chinese colleagues, it was time to head back to Hong Kong.

Having spent the past couple of years working mainly in the north American market, I'm very much looking forward to the future in the east. There are some very large and juicy brands that I'm just dying to work with on that side of the planet.


  • At 12:24 AM, Marc Macalua said…

    Hi Mike. Congratulations on the new HK office :)

  • At 1:38 PM, Inway said…

    Hi Mike. Nice Pictures at Xiamen, I and RQ are looking forward to have you here again.

  • At 9:45 AM, Kate said…

    Hi Mike,
    We met at SES Stockholm many moons ago. I work here in HK and would love to meet up sometime to hear more about your new office here. I missed the opening dinner unfortunately, although you were kind to invite me. Drop me an e-mail when you have some free time: kate.bell@ef.com.

    hope to speak to you soon,


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