By Burt Helm
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Before headphones and speaker company Beats Electronics was sold to Apple for more than $3 billion, the company faced a crossroads: It had parted ways with partner Monster Electronics in 2012 and needed new manufacturing partners.
Luke Wood, then the chief operating officer and now the company's president, found himself traveling to Hong Kong every six to eight weeks to negotiate deals with Asian suppliers. In the process, he fell in love with the city.
"Hong Kong has this raw entrepreneurial spirit," says Wood, who is based in Los Angeles. "It's the gateway in and out of China, so there is this truly global, cosmopolitan set of people. There's a tremendous amount of optimism, a tremendous amount of energy."
When Wood visits the city these days, here's his playlist:
When he lands: "I go straight to the hotel and try to take as many calls as possible before North America goes to sleep. After that, I go for a run on Bowen Road toward Happy Valley. It turns into a fitness trail with great views and no cars."
Room with a view: The Upper House (Pacific Place, 88, Queensway). "My favorite room is an Upper Suite, with a corner city view. The staff are incredibly warm, professional and down-to-earth."
Quiet spot for meetings: The members-only China Club (13 F -14 F 2A Des Voeux Rd. C) has dim sum and a 1930s Hong Kong feel. Get a private room for smaller meetings or book the library for bigger ones.
Dinner with the team: Yardbird (33 Bridges St.) "It's a relatively new restaurant, no reservations, just an example of the new Hong Kong palate – extremely cosmopolitan, influenced by a lot of local ingredients."
Power ballads: Break the ice with business partners by...singing. "Neway (28 Jaffe Rd.) and Red MR (5 Tonnochy Rd.) are both great options, but be prepared for a heavy dose of piano ballads. I subvert this by plugging in my own iPod. I think I've performed 'Let's Dance' by David Bowie over 500 times at this point."
Where to mix business with pleasure: Dragon-I (60 Wyndham St.) "The guy who owns the club loves soul music, '70s French disco, and hip-hop. It's got a lounge feel. I always end up running into someone I know, whether they're in music, entertainment, fashion, manufacturing, consumer electronics."
Tourist trap: Take in the city views from Victoria Peak. "It's an incredible view of the glass-and-steel architecture of the city with the harbor, and the tropical islands around it. Even in poor weather, it's very dramatic. When it's sunny, it's incredibly beautiful."
Before heading home: Pick up some street noodles with extra chili at the airport before flying back to the states. "It's the perfect meal before 13 hours on a plane."
(Editing by Lauren Young and Cynthia Osterman)