What Carrie Lam can learn from two naughty boys

February 12, 2020 12:32
Ricky Wong, chairman of the firm that runs the HKTVmall online shopping platform, has won praise for focusing on the face mask shortage problem in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus crisis.  Photo: Bloomberg

Ricky Wong Wai-kay did it. Joshua Wong Chi-fung did it. But not the Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor administration.

We are talking about procurement of masks, the hot commodity everyone wants to get a piece of amid the outbreak of coronavirus, which has now officially been named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization.

Yesterday, Demosisto secretary-general Joshua Wong said he had successfully purchased 100,000 face masks in the United States, thanks to the help of his Washington connections and overseas Chinese.

Kudos to the 23-year-old activist who scored another victory after campaigning for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. His democracy group also offered to pay for the shipment cost to ensure his fans will be able to get the masks at below market price.

Right now, his pressing task is to ensure that his website does not crash as traffic has surged amid a flood of requests from mask-seekers.

Parallel to Joshua Wong's efforts, we have an initiative from HKTV chairman Ricky Wong, the maverick media, telecoms and e-commerce entrepreneur, who revealed that he bought a mask machine from Taiwan for US$200,000.

The machine was purchased last week for double the original bidding price.

With their proactive efforts to address the mask shortage issue, the rebellious Wongs have made the Hong Kong government -- which failed to score any success after launching an open tender to buy 57 million surgical masks based on the lowest bid -- look bad and appear clueless.

The government is definitely dumb but luckily we have some smart people in business and politics who are rising to the occasion.

Speaking of Ricky Wong, who has a record of playing David vs Goliath in the telecoms industry, he is not just smart, but super-smart.

After his overseas hunt for mask machine in Taiwan and India, HKTV announced on Monday that it would expect a big surge in orders this month after a 60 percent year-on-year increase in the average daily visitor numbers to its online shopping site in January.

And guess what, HKTV is raising more than HK$400 million in fresh capital through a share placement exercise.

The founder and CEO has launched creative roadshows and earned the public's respect. With added financial muscle, one assumes Wong should have no problem if he wants to buy another 200 mask machines for Hong Kong.

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EJ Insight writer