Author Archives: Howard Winn

About Howard Winn

Howard Winn has been a journalist for more than 25 years working mostly in Asia, He was until recently Lai See columnist for the South China Morning Post, a column that focused on the lighter side of business and more. He was previously Deputy Editor and Business Editor of the Hong Kong Standard His work has been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. His latest work can be found at

Swire closes Grappa’s in Pacific Place

Swire Properties has announced it will not be renewing the lease of the popular restaurant Grappa’s in its Pacific Place mall. The restaurant will close in July after being a fixture in the mall for just over 25 years. wrote a few weeks ago that Swire was contemplating axing the restaurant as part of a strategy to ‘freshen up’ the mall. Continue reading

Ciao Grappa’s?

First Dan Ryan was eased out of Pacific Place. Now it appears the Italian restaurant Grappa’s is under threat of having to close when its contract expires later this year. Negotiations are still underway between the owners, El Grande Concepts, and Swire Properties. But there is speculation that at least some in Swire Properties management want Grappa’s out. Grappa’s has had this location since 1990 and still remains extremely popular. Continue reading

Tsang’s effort to hide Hong Kong’s budget riches is suspicious

This year’s budget was notable for the Financial Secretary’s hand-wringing over events in Mong Kok, calling them shocking and an assault on Hong Kong’s core values.

John Tsang’s solution: “As long as everyone is willing to set aside short-term political considerations in favour of the long-term overall interests of Hong Kong, we shall have a chance to return to rationality.” While it is tempting to suggest he tells that to the Chinese Communist Party it has won him newspaper headlines for having ‘heart’ and being more in touch with Hong Kong’s problems than other senior government officials.

But leaving aside Tsang’s bromide political observations, his latest effort was much the same as previous budgets in that his main problem was to hide the extent of Hong Kong’s embarrassment of riches. Continue reading

Stockbroker Allan Murray dies

Allan Murray died recently. He was aged 72 and had lived and worked in Hong Kong since arriving here in 1971. He spent most of his working life as a stockbroker with Jardine Fleming, a joint venture formed in 1970 between Jardine Matheson and London merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. Despite his easy going business style he survived its acquisition by the rather more straight-laced US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase and went on to become Chairman of Hong Kong Equity Broking a position he held until his recent death from a brain haemorrhage. Continue reading

Riot highlights bleak outlook for one country two systems


Discussions into the reasons for the Mong Kok riot are now well underway. views it as another bleak expression of frustration with the current social and political conditions in Hong Kong and should have come as no great surprise. Indeed, a threat assessment in October 2014 by the specialist risk consultancy, Steve Vickers and Associates, noted the possibility of, “Some small scale violent actions may possibly be taken by splinter groups….” Continue reading