28 October 2016
Li Ka-shing is hiring a Chinese language expert and specialist copywriter to beef up his communications strategy. Photo: HKEJ
Li Ka-shing is hiring a Chinese language expert and specialist copywriter to beef up his communications strategy. Photo: HKEJ

Tycoons seeking a helping hand and paying top dollar for it

Tycoon Li Ka-shing is willing to pay top dollar for the right talent — and it’s not just for the traditional management types.

The billionaire’s group flagship CK Property (01113.HK) is offering a seven-figure annual salary to a Chinese writing specialist, seeking out someone who has over 20 years of experience and is an expert in classical Chinese language and history. 

With a million bucks a year, nearly double the going market rate for a fairly senior copywriter, or equivalent to what a deputy editor makes in a Chinese publication, the new hire will be responsible for various internal and external communications and must also write speeches for the boss.

It may be a dream job for the city’s top writers, but it is also very demanding.

Last year, for instance, the group’s corporate communications staff came under severe test after Li faced criticism from mainland media for allegedly withdrawing investments from China.

To refute the “running away” allegations and assure the Beijing leadership that he remains committed as ever to the well-being of the motherland, Li had issue a 1,700-word statement in September.

With the tycoon’s every word carefully dissected by the media as well China’s leaders, the importance of using the right phrases, and the tonality of the text, cannot be underestimated.

This is where the new hire will come in, on top of the over-two-dozen public relations specialists that Hong Kong’s richest man has already deployed to take care of the needs of his vast empire.

While Li is seeking a Chinese language expert, other tycoons are also realizing the need for a new breed of communications professionals.

Social media managers, in particular, have emerged as a much-vaunted commodity.

Thus, we see New World Development (00017.HK) hiring a manager for online community while Sun Hung Kai Properties wants a corporate communications manager for social and digital.

Both the property firms are looking for relatively young people with seven to 10 years of experience.

There is indeed a pressing need for big corporates to reconfigure their communications strategies, given that they have been found wanting in taking their message to youngsters who rely more on new media.

As many PR heads at companies are from a different generation, the firms were often clueless in handling social media attacks, for instance.

It’s no longer cool for corporate PR chief to be dismissive of Facebook or ignore YouTube videos.

Corporate PR teams have realized the importance of online activity, but it is only now that they are putting in place specialized social media managers.

We are also delighted to note that some property developers are seeking to improve their artistic sense. Henderson Land (00012.HK), for example, is creating a new post of “chief design officer”.

Well, what better way to sell pricey residential units than with some special effects?

Wharf Holdings (00004.HK)’ most profitable shopping mall, Harbour City, is meanwhile hiring temporary “Chocolate Ambassadors” to promote its “Chocolate Trail” theme.

The ambassadors will be given extensive “chocolate tasting” courses on various selected chocolate brands, and they may even get the chance to travel to Belgium.

Yes, these are some of the interesting jobs we can find in 2016.

Given the generally grim global economic outlook amid the China problems, we have to be thankful that some new job segments are opening up in the city.

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EJ Insight writer

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