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December 13, 2009

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Kinga adds new link to her chain

RELOCATING to new countries and putting down roots again is nothing new to emerging business proprietor Kinga Hutchinson who is into her second year living in Shanghai.

The 30-something woman born in Germany to Hungarian parents is establishing her own branch of an Australian-based events facilitation company and fully admits she's still learning the ropes in Shanghai.

But the many years she's spent on the road in Dubai, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia come in handy as she knits together the many contacts made in a number of occupations in different locations.

In Japan, she worked for a celebrity gymnasium fitness franchise for which movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was spokesman. In Dubai, where "people are as transient as they are in Shanghai so they wind up in jobs you might not get elsewhere," she became events director for the Bin Hendi company, overseeing 65 luxury brands in the United Arab Emirates and India.

"One of our projects was to launch a huge mall called Bin Hendi Avenue involving brands such as Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein Jeans, and a lot of other high-end luxury brands," Hutchinson said last week. "It was through this that I went to India in 2005 to set up the Hugo Boss fashion show which is how I got involved with all the Bollywood industry."

Greater profile

Those contacts have proved invaluable in Shanghai and a boost to her business called A List International, which is now working with the Indian consulate to stage the premiere of an Indian movie.

"They're trying to get greater profile for Indian movies in Shanghai and we're looking at bringing in some famous actors and actresses during the Expo," she said.

The company earlier this year worked with the Indian Film Academy on an event at the Venetian Casino in Macau. "We had about 30,000 visitors and our job was to source Chinese fashion designers because one of the big events was a fashion extravaganza to which we brought delegations from Shanghai and Hungary."

Hutchinson, who was educated at Farnborough College of Technology in the UK and went to Dubai in 1998 "because I was always interested in Arabic culture," experienced the vagaries of her job early this year when she was working with the Shanghai Film Festival.

"We successfully booked Priyanka Chopra, the Indian Bollywood actress who used to be Miss World, for the Shanghai festival," she said.

"But she unfortunately didn't come because she got sick two hours before boarding the flight to Shanghai. It was an unfortunate experience to get a call at 2am to say she's not coming and the event was the next day."

Hutchinson works across a range of disciplines and activities in her business. "When people ask what we do, we're involved in the fashion industry, film festivals, celebrity management, meetings-incentives-conferences and events (MICE), helping companies to find sponsors, a bit of media launching and PR," she said.

"This is the fifth country I've lived in and it always take a period of time to gain the trust and establish a network. We're still in the process and I wouldn't say we're perfectly set up yet. We're finding smaller business opportunities with companies to gain their trust for bigger events."

A List International ( has a collaborative contract with a Chinese events company called China Explorer, linked to the Jinjiang Group, and is connected through franchise to the company in Cairns, Australia.

"I like Shanghai for its energy and it's the time and place to be right now with the Expo coming up," she said. "I enjoy learning new languages and getting to know the mindset and culture of the Chinese." In her downtime, Hutchinson teaches aerobics and performs in plays put on by Zulu Productions, the most recent being "Cinderella" and "M. Butterfly."

But it's the business momentum she thrives on.

"There's a lot of different angles to this business and if you'd asked me six months ago what I thought the focus would be I would have said MICE and maybe some fashion shows. So it's been very surprising, a lot more exciting and motivating."

And the opportunities seem to be endless.Hutchinson is currently putting together a plan for eight wealthy Chinese to do a luxury trip to Dubai on a private jet to meet property developers. She's also working with the Prince Albert Foundation on a Monaco-China event during the Expo in October.

"We have a lot of different skills which you can only get by having lived and worked in different countries," Hutchinson said.


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