Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Business is a Masquerade

Start Date:2014-03-13
End Date:2014-03-13

Short Descirption:

How a Belgian Man Founded, Built and Sold his Business in Hong Kong

Presented by Mr. Jean-François Destexhe Co-Founder & Director, Palamon (International) Ltd.

Long Description:

(at LEVELS, Central)

Business is a Masquerade
How a Belgian Man Founded, Built and Sold his Business in Hong Kong

Presented by Mr. Jean-François Destexhe
Co-Founder & Director, Palamon (International) Ltd.

Event Details


Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm (at LEVELS)


Business is a Masquerade - How a Belgian Man Founded, Built and Sold his Business in Hong Kong
Mr. Jean-François, Co-Founder & Director, Palamon (International) Ltd.

Jean-François Destexhe (“JF”) stumbled into Hong Kong on a holiday and ended up staying.  And like many entrepreneurs dream, he (eventually) founded a business that he was able to sell successfully.

JF first came to Hong Kong in 1992 after finishing his thesis on “The economic effects of the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997”.  He fell in love with the city and later worked in the China retail and premium gifts sourcing business for 3-1/2 years.  He also worked in Europe for a few years in an uncle’s toy business before felt ready to strike out on his own to become an entrepreneur. But the first venture was a major failure.  Undeterred, JF tried again and this time made use of a small “shelf” trading company in Hong Kong which he had set up with a friend.  In 2000, JF and his friend started to sell “dress up” costumes made in China but with real “Western quality”.  (It may sound obvious to do so now, but at the time nearly all costumes made in China were of very low quality.)  The beginning was tough but with the help of prayers the company made it through the critical initial period. And, as they say, the rest is now history.

The company sold to foreign importers only at first but later started selling successfully directly to overseas retailers.  A major milestone was to get into Wal-Mart, which amazingly was accomplished within the first year of trying.  After adding a third partner and through hard work the company reached sales of US$50 million.  Shortly thereafter the owners found a buyer in Li & Fung Trading Ltd. (stock 494 on the HK SE) and JF has now become Senior Vice President in the company.

Among the insights and lessons learned JF will share with members and guests are:

  • The pros and cons of partnership
  • How to get new customers
  • How to "get into Wal-Mart"
  • How to manage rapid growth without getting into serious trouble
  • How to sell a business

After our speakers presentation, the session will continue in an interactive Q & A format where members and guests are encouraged to discuss relevant issues with our guest speaker.

Agenda (approx.):
6:30 to 7:00 cocktails and networking
7:05 General TEN announcements
7:15 Presentation by our guest speaker
7:50 to 8:10 Q&A session
8:10 to 9:00 Networking

NOTE:  Registration online is desirable as it helps in our planning.  All online registrants will receive an email confirmation from TEN.

IMPORTANT:  We strongly encourage all members and guests to arrive not later than 7:00PM.



2/F., On Hing Building
No. 1, On Hing Terrace
Central District, HK [Enter from Wyndham Street]
Tel: 2850-6826

Levels' Happy Hour "2 for 1" drinks policy will be in effect from 6:30 to 9:00



This event is free for MEMBERS and $100 for non-members.
Please register HERE


About our speaker:

Jean-François Destexhe
Co-Founder & Director, Palamon (International) Ltd.

Born and raised in Belgium, JF Destexhe is the Co-Founder and Director of Palamon (International) Ltd., a leading role-play, costumes and party accessories trading company based in Hong Kong. Palamon was recently acquired by Li & Fung Trading Ltd.  Prior to founding Palamon, JF worked in Europe and Hong Kong as a buyer and sourcing manager in the toy industry.  JF holds a BA and MA in Economics and Social Science from Notre Dame de la Paix of Namur Belgium.  He has been a Hong Kong resident since 2000 and currently resides in Discovery Bay with his Scottish wife and their five children.

Send your Registration Today so that you can take advantage of this informative event.

TEN MEMBERSHIP: You can now join as a member of TEN safely and easily by sending your registration to

Best regards,
Executive committee members of TEN