Tycoons find fame in space


Hong Kong

What really enduring gift can you give the billionaire who has everything? Choi Kwun-sum, son of the Hong Kong tycoon Choi Kai-yau, has come up with an answer: he gave 6 million yuan (pounds 500,000) to a foundation at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and was rewarded when China agreed to name minor Planet Number 5,389 after his father.

This not terribly well known planet was discovered by China's Purple Mountain Observatory in 1981.

However, with money safely deposited in the bank two months ago, Planet 5,389 can look forward to a new lease of life as Planet Choi Kai-yau. It does so with the blessing of the International Minor Planet Centre, which has sanctioned the new name.

Indeed, the centre has shown itself amenable to other name-changes, having approved the naming of planets after another Hong Kong tycoon, Tsang Hin-chi, and the grandfather of the kung- fu film studios, Sir Run Run Shaw.

Shortly after achieving extraterrestrial fame, Mr Tsang became somewhat better known in Hong Kong after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose a criminal conviction when his fashion company, Goldlion Holdings, secured a listing on the stock exchange.

Overseas Chinese are famous for lavishing donations on the land of their ancestors.

The Chinese authorities fully understand that the price for most of these donations is the need to give face to the donors by bestowing their names, or the names of their parents, on the institutions which receive the funds.

But the game of one-upmanship requires ever more creative ways of recognising the rich.

For Messrs Choi and Tsang, alongside Sir Run Run, the planetary business means that they need not die before being immortalised in the heavens.