The story appears on

Page B2

October 25, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » People

Savage by name, social by nature

A few dozen local business operators get together every month in Shanghai for a Friday afternoon lunch.

They generally like to sit together so, given the numbers, it has to be a very long table. And, more often than not, it becomes a very long lunch.

Well, there's business and bonhomie to discuss and this mob includes bankers, lawyers, importers and exporters, trade czars and recruiters.

This all started two years ago and has been sustained long and strong enough for more formal arrangements to be made, such as a home base, office bearers, charter of operations and the like that comes with people in numbers seeking to belong to something of substance.

Right from the outset, members gathered under the name of Shanghai Savage Club and met religiously on the verandah at Mesa on Julu Road.

"It all began over a drink at the end of a long day in September 2007," foundation President Michael Lucas recalled this week.

"A group of Old China Hands were wistfully discussing the long lunches of the 1980s and the conversation turned to the club life of the 1930s and 1940s in Shanghai and what an exciting place it must have been.

"Following a few more rounds of drinks it was agreed that the group and like-minded individuals they knew would meet for a long lunch two weeks from Friday.

"On the first Friday of October, the humble beginnings of the Shanghai Savage Club, just eight individuals, enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship."

The origins of the name date back to the United Kingdom when the Savage Club was founded in 1857. It remains one of the leading bohemian gentleman's clubs in London.

But it's not all fun and games as the monthly "meeting" format might suggest.

It also provides a significant network to talk China business in an open forum where the "what you know" is as important as the "who you know."

"The club, initially a 'long nose lowpat' affair, or pale face long-term expats, now has members from all corners of the globe. As its activities broadened and word spread, the membership base increased and diversified," Lucas said.

"Now there is a stronger representation of new members from Asian countries and local Chinese are showing an interest."

The club has over 100 regular active members and 100 further international and less active members and Lucas is upbeat about their interaction.

"While it is anecdotal, we believe that over US$20 million in trade has been done, member to member, as a result of the club's fellowship," he said.

Over the past two years the luncheon has continued to be the main monthly event of the club. However, as membership broadens the executive wants the range of activities to reflect the diversity.

The club agenda for the next year involves international and local guest speakers, trips to sporting events and support of charities.

Due to this expansion, a committee has been established to arrange events and generally get the club affairs in order.

Over 10 individuals hold office and represent the members in preparing information.

"The plan is to become a 'club' in the truest sense, with a privately owned venue," Lucas said.

Part of this more consolidated structure and formalization is the evolution of a club brand which, despite any imperial links, is definitely Eastern in nature, as Lucas explained.

"The choice of the logo was to depict the play on words visually of the original Savage Club members, being anything but savages that is.

"The dragon in the West is seen as a fire breathing beast and often dangerous. In China, dragons are depicted as lucky, more playful creatures.

"This is the open, friendly and generous image that the club members truly want to be represented by. At least that is what we set out to do!"


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend