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  1. Wealth
January 21, 2011

At the Sharp End: Sir David Tang

By Spear's

Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Sir David Tang faces the Spear’s inquisition

Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Sir David Tang faces the Spear’s inquisition
Q.     What would your other career be?
A.     If I were good enough, I would be a concert pianist. I have always, always wanted to be one.

Q.     Who is your greatest influence?
A.     Jimmy Goldsmith was certainly one of my greatest influences. He always held a contrary view but always supported his reasoning with persuasive arguments.

Q.     What is your biggest fear?
A.     Going blind.

Q.     What is missing in the world?
A.     Good taste.

Q.     In a year, the UK economy will be…
A.     More settled and better, but there will still not be any excitement.

Q.     How many assistants do you have?
A.     Three, who have worked for me for a total of over 60 years.

Q.     Who makes your shirts?
A.     Charvet in Paris — who else?

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Q.     Philanthropy should be…
A.     Silent, but accidentally discovered, at least occasionally.

Q.     My business mantra is…
A.     Avoid negative cash-flow, at all costs.

Q.     Which watch do you wear?
A.     Ball, which used to run the American railways and is the only watch that fluoresces very brightly at night. And I need to know the time whenever I wake up.

Q.     Where do you summer?
A.     On some vessel, preferably with a funnel.

Q.     Who do you have on speed-dial?
A.     My accountant.

Q.     Favourite hotel suite?
A.     Villa Feltrinelli, at Lake Garda.

Q.     What is your guilty pleasure?
A.     Burping alone.

Q.     My greatest success in business was…
A.     Selling paintings I bought years ago.

Q.     My greatest failure in business was…
A.     All my investments in films.

Q.     Where are you right now?
A.     In the Hong Kong office, smoking a cigar.

Q.     Which restaurant is indispensable?
A.     Ka Jok See in Phuket.

Q.     How did you earn your first pay cheque?
A.     Barman at my father’s Chinese restaurant in Kent.

Q.     Spear’s is sharp and to the point. I am…
A.     Blunt and to the end. 

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