Collecting stamps is more than just a hobby for many parents - it could be a way to pass on investment ideas to the next generation.
That is how Ricky Wong Kwong-yiu lectures his 11-year-old son about how to handle money wisely.
"Stamps are not only a great way to get to know our history, but it is also a tool to teach him how to use his money," said Wong, an executive director of Wheelock Properties (0049), who has been a stamp collector from his school years.
"Earlier this year, my son bought a set of stamps for the Year of the Dragon issued by the China Post for 90 yuan [HK$110.95]. A few weeks later, the set appreciated in value to 150 yuan. That's a 66 percent profit. He is very happy with it and said he should buy more!" Wong said.
Beyond the potential gains, stamps have helped father and son speak a common language.
He said his son has spent about 20 percent of laisee he received during the Lunar New Year on stamps, put 70 percent in the savings account, and the rest went to charity.
Wong said that volunteering, another important social value, is also best understood at a young age.
"My son often tags along when I go volunteering. We are planning to go with my colleagues to The Conservancy Association's Walk for the Environment this year," he said.
To his son, Wong may be a charitable dad, but in business, he definitely does not share it all as he is always eager to be the first mover.
"Early bird gets the worm," may be a cliche, but it is a rule of thumb when it comes to Kowloon East, the area that many commercial developers so desire.
As Kowloon East takes shape as the second central business district of Hong Kong, Wheelock has stormed out of the gate betting heavily on the area.
Wheelock Properties, a subsidiary of Wheelock and Co (0020), has got a head start in increasing its land bank in East Kowloon.
Wong sees great potential in the area.
"With the very limited supply of office space in Central now, demand will for sure spread to Kowloon East, where infrastructure such as the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, stadium, tourism centers and parks, will be built in the next 10 years.
"The rail network will also be extended to the area through the Sha Tin- Central [rail] link as well as the Kwun Tong line extension. Outsiders will move into the district," he said.
Last year, the developer acquired another two commercial sites in Kwun Tong and Hung Hom. The sites will provide a gross floor area of 1.5 million square feet. Before the acquisition, Wheelock already had sites offering 3 million sq ft of buildable office space in Kowloon East.
Two commercial buildings are planned on the Kwun Tong site in Hoi Bun Road with 910,000 sq ft of gross floor area. The buildings will be for leasing only.
The plan for the Wharf T&T Square in Kwun Tong has also been approved, which will create synergies with the new buildings on Hoi Bun Road, Wong said.
Approved in October last year, the square will provide Grade A office space. The company paid a land premium of HK$502.79 million.
Other than commercial buildings, some residential ones are also planned, providing 3 million sq ft for new apartments.
The Kowloon Godown in Kwun Tong will be redeveloped as a residential project with gross floor area of 830,000 sq ft. Building plans have been given the green light , pending approval of the land premium to be paid.
The other site on Tung Yuen Street in Yau Tong can also provide gfa of 250,000 sq ft. Discussions on the land premium are continuing.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. In this case, Tseung Kwan O seems to be the "cheese."
For years, the area has been dominated by Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) and Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016).
In January, Wheelock also made its first foray in TKO - winning the tender for the 88,760-sq-ft residential site in Tseung Kwan O Area 66B for HK$1.86 billion, or HK$3,710 per buildable sq ft.
"The group has had no developments in Tseung Kwan O over the years. But, the district is becoming more developed with infrastructure lately. The project will provide mostly two-to-three bedroom units, targeting small families," Wong said.
Since the number of flats that can be built has been stipulated for this site, which offers gfa of 488,180 sqft, only between 590 and 620 apartments may be built.
Wheelock is also speeding up the pace for more developments in areas with more potential, such as those along the MTR line. These developments will mainly focus on luxury residential and commercial property.
"We are planning for new projects to be put on the market every year, while looking for opportunities to buy more land - especially in the Kai Tak area and in Tseung kwan O - through channels such as the application list, as well as MTR and Urban Renewal Authority tenders," Wong said.
Last month, in less than three days, the developer sold all 103 units at Lexington Hill in Sai Wan for an average of HK$12,500 psf. "It's a confidence boost for us to launch other developments later this year," he said.
Wheelock plans to launch Kadoorie Hill in Ho Man Tin by May. The 66-unit project will house units sized between 800 and 3,000 sq ft. Average flats are likely to be priced between HK$15,000 and HK$16,000 psf.
The project is expected to be completed by July next year.
Currently, the company is developing 5 million sq ft of space, including the five government sites acquired in the past two years.
That includes the project atop the Austin MTR station, and the project at Mount Nicholson Road on the Peak.
"The project at Mount Nicholson Road will be launched in the second half this year. Units, including detached houses and apartments could be as large as 10,000 sq ft. The first phase of the project atop Austin MTR station, on the other hand, will be put on the market in the first half this year," Wong said.
In July 2010, Wharf Holdings (0004), bought the 324,861-sq-ft site at Mount Nicholson Road in a 50:50 joint venture with Nan Fung Development for HK$10.4 billion, or HK$32,014 per buildable sq ft.
As for commercial properties, the developer is planning to sell the rest of One Midtown in Tsuen Wan within the year.
So far, it has sold 20 of 26 floors of the building, generating HK$130 million, or HK$3,700 per sq ft.