Thursday 24th February 2011

Dear Reader,

Please don't forget to vote in our INED poll, which closes soon. Your voting PIN is at the top of this e-mail.


Reforming Salaries Tax
The budget was devoid of any structural reform to public finances. In our first article in a series, Webb-site fills the void with a proposal to reform Salaries Tax to make it a simpler, fairer and flat tax. (24-Feb-2011)


The three wise monkeys of HK boards
SEHK has proposed minor reforms to the composition of boards which completely miss the core issue - INEDs are only as independent and competent as the controlling shareholder wants them to be, as long as he or it votes on the INED elections. We call for independent directors to be independently-elected. Tell us what you think!. Read our article and then take our poll on INEDs. (15-Feb-2011)

Prudential's de facto delisting
We look at the evaporating puddle of liquidity in the dual-primary HK listing of Prudential Plc, now down to 0.08% of the company. 95% of it has drained away since last year's listing. Meanwhile, the much-trumpeted secondary listing of Brazilian iron ore giant Vale has almost dried up too, now down to 0.02% of the company. (15-Feb-2011)


Webb on "Backchat" re budget
RTHK, 24-Feb-2011
With Ronald Arculli, Ronny Tong Ka-wah (the Two Ronnies) and Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong.

HKEx welcomes iBonds, hopes to list them
Company media release, 23-Feb-2011
It would be nice if the bonds were actually admitted to CCASS and traded on the stock exchange, rather than the phoney "listings" that all the existing Government bonds have, where there is no trading on HKEx and retail investors are held captive by the banks in the over-the-counter market.

Octopus Cards reveals hidden gain on lost cards
HK Legislative Council, 23-Feb-2011
In the last 3 years, 35,000 anonymous cards were found and returned (probably mostly by public transport operators), giving Octopus a windfall of HK$3.3m, or about $1.1m per year. On top of that, there must be some cards which are lost but never returned, leaving the float to grow forever in the company's accounts.

Letter to shareholders of Sage (8082) from Global Sources Ltd (NASDAQ:GSOL)
Company announcement, 23-Feb-2011
Webb-site believes this raises a number of legitimate questions which deserve answers from Sage.

Alibaba and the 2,326 thieves
Company announcement, 21-Feb-2011
We've always wondered why they chose that name.

Zhang Xiao Ming v SFC
SFAT, 18-Feb-2011
If you've ever wondered how some sponsors get to the required number of public shareholders for a listing, this ruling spells it out. 87 retail "clients" at the Wanchai Branch of ICEA Securities subscribed in the placing of Lang Chao (now Inspur, 0596) and then sold 8,712,000 shares for $0.005 more than the IPO price of $0.36 on the first day, to a company owned by the sponsor. The allotment results showed only 116 placees in total.

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