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ASIA'S NEXT VANGUARD 2014: Meet Hong Kong's Wong, the 'Magic Boy'

Ricky Wong Wai-kay, chairman of Hong Kong Television Network

HONG KONG -- Ricky Wong Wai-kay, chairman of Hong Kong Television Network, is nicknamed "Magic Boy." He has continued to challenge regulatory restraints in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China known as one of the most business-friendly places on the planet.

     Wong's current goal is to obtain a free-to-air TV license from the Hong Kong government. This year, his company will continue its fight against authorities that recently rejected HKTV's application for such a license.

     The government in October examined applications from HKTV and two other entities seeking to become the first new entrants into the TV broadcasting business in about 40 years. HKTV was the only channel not granted a license, even though the company had been seen as the likeliest to win one.

     Wong voiced his strong dissatisfaction with the government decision. He said he could not understand why his company "has to die for no reason", and resolved to continue to fight. Hong Kong citizens sided with HKTV, taking to the streets in a massive anti-government rally to demonstrate their support for the company.

     Known as a bold business executive, Wong in 1992 set up City Telecom (H.K.) as a newcomer in Hong Kong's telecommunications business. By doing so, he broke down the monopoly in the sector and triggered a substantial decline in phone rates in the territory.

     He sold the firm's hard-won telecom assets to a British investment fund for 5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($645 million) in 2012. He also changed his company's name to HKTV and bet its future on broadcasting.

     HKTV in December announced it had acquired a company that has a license for mobile TV services. It plans from July to start offering programming that can be viewed through cellphones and other devices.

     The company also intends to continue its legal battle against the government to get a broadcasting license.

    

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