A room with a view
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A room with a view

The first time I come to Hong Kong I check myself into the Mandarin and go out to meet this promising young shipowner called CH Tung, I sell him on a new way of financing his fleet, and this is the original Junk Bond.

Now I am kinda startled when he mails me a personalized invitation to the IMF, but it seems how when the Brits decide to privatize Hong Kong he fronts the red chip LBO that is set up to take it over, and becomes the chief executive, just in time for this year's meeting, so now is his chance to show the world that it is business as usual out here, only more so.

I figure this already when I open negotiations with the Mandarin, first of all they swear they are booked solid, then a room mysteriously happens to come free, terms: cash up front four months ahead, in the end I pick one up from NatWest Markets, they are long of Mandarin rooms and ready to close out and be glad of one good trade before the year end.

This being Hong Kong, CH has to do things the expensive way, he fixes for us to meet in this vast glossy new convention center built like a luxury liner, maybe it is one of his, in any case it sure makes old Alcatraz East back in Washington look seriously down market, and fit only for a morticians' trade association dinner dance or a reunion of Rotarians.

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