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November 7, 2009

Guy Harvey-Samuel

Robbie Henchman

Giles Morgan

Mark Steinberg

GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Guy Harvey-Samuel, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC in Singapore, and thank you for joining us this afternoon and dragging yourselves away from the golf course to be here.
As you all know, the last 12 months have seen some of the toughest times the world economy has faced in all our living memories. It's for that reason that I'm particularly pleased to announce that 'the world's local bank' will be bringing the HSBC Women's Champions back to Singapore for another three years.
I'm going to be completely honest with you from the outset. The prize money will be reduced to US$1.3 million for the 2010 event. It will then increase to US$1.4 million for the 2011 event. The field will also reduce slightly to 63.
However, the good news is that given how many tournaments have struggled in the past year, we have stayed firm behind our commitment to women's golf. The tournament will not change.
The 2010 event will have the same world-class field of champions as the 2008 and the 2009 tournaments. As you know, these events brought us some absolutely thrilling golf and two world-class winners in Lorena Ochoa and Jia Yi Shin. It will also provide an insight into what the first Olympic golf tournament at the Rio Games in 2016 will look and field feel like, because the field will be of a similar size.
In addition, we will continue to have the two sponsor invitations, which in the past we have used to give valuable opportunities to the top Asian players, and most importantly we will also have that one special place, the golden ticket, reserved for a Singapore qualifier. The place in the field that provided such memorable experiences in the last two years for Amelia Yong and Joey Poh.
We are fortunate that at HSBC, we have a business that is built on such stable foundations and that has performed so resolutely when compared to others in the industry. This has allowed us to stay firm behind the commitment we made to women's golf, to stay firm behind the commitment we made to bring a world-class tournament to Singapore; and, to stay firm behind the commitment we made to Singapore's golf fans who have quickly fallen in love with the HSBC Women's Champions experience.
The good news is that now all of you can block off the 25th to the 28th of February 2010 in your diaries. And now I'll hand over to HSBC's group head of sponsorship, Giles Morgan.
GILES MORGAN: Thank you very much, Guy.
HSBC is proud to continue our support as a major sponsor of women's golf, something we have been doing since 2005. It is pleasing and gratifying that we are able to sit here in front of you today, having announced that we have found a way to continue the HSBC Women's Champions at the end of a year that has seen unprecedented market conditions and conditions that have seen a decline in the sponsorship marketplace globally.
In 2005, the world's local bank made a commitment to golf, and especially to golf in Asia. That commitment is aimed at embracing the men's game, the women's game, and the grass roots and youth development of the sport. The HSBC Women's Champions completes the circle of our sponsorships in Asia. Our two tournaments the tip of the iceberg. They are of course wonderful events in their own right but they exist to meet a greater goal than just having world-class events.
The aim is to grow golf, because we believe that it golf and sports in general is important for the good it does for society and especially for society's young. Our two champions events are tied very closely with our youth development programs and the entire package is structured to provide both inspiration and opportunity to young people.
The inspiration comes from Asia's children, to be able to see players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lorena Ochoa and Jia Yi Shin competing in world-class events on this continent. The opportunity comes from getting people to try out the sport of golf, and to provide them with the opportunity to get the coaching needed to improve and the opportunity to learn how to compete in tournaments. We provide this through investing in coaching and putting on events for young golfers, such as the HSBC Junior golf Programme and the HSBC Youth Golfers Programme in Singapore.
Just as having the world-class field that you see here this week inspires young boys all over Asia to take up the game, so it is important that young female golfers should feel the same dream of playing on the LPGA; and it's within touching distance.
And that is why we are one of the very few sponsors in the game of golf to have brother and sister events, and that is why it is so important that today we are able to announce that our sister tournament is to remain an essential part of the Asian golf calendar. Thank you very much.
I would auto like to now open up the floor to any questions and to on my left, Mark Steinberg, head of global golf for IMG and to my right, Robbie Henchman, director of golf Asia-Pacific for IMG to answer any questions you may have.

Q. Quick question, where will it be held, next year's HSBC events?
ROBBIE HENCHMAN: Still in discussions.

Q. Obviously HSBC is a global bank and you could probably choose any country or any city in Asia to hold the HSBC Women's. We are very glad it's going to be in Singapore. What has been some of the benefits of holding a tournament of such stature in such a small country like Singapore?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: There have been a number of benefits actually. Firstly from our perspective in Singapore, the support we have had from the Singapore public lick has been absolutely outstanding, and you will know from your own experience that over the last couple of years, the attendance has been growing and growing, and I don't think there's anyone who has actually walked away from the tournament after the four days and had anything bad to say about it. So that's a significant benefit for us.
We have had great support in the past from the Singapore government and the players love to come to Singapore. You hear fantastic comments from the top, top players in the world who love to come to Singapore, because it is such a wonderful place. It's very easy to get to. The courses are great.
But they also love the way we actually run the tournament. It is, according to them, one of the best-run tournaments that they actually go to. And I'm sure they will be as thrilled as we are when they hear that they are going to have the opportunity in February to come back again to for another three years.

Q. 2010 will be in Singapore, but 2011 and 2012 will still be in Singapore or have you decided?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: The 2011 and 2012 tournaments will be in Singapore, as well.

Q. In 2010, the prize money is US$1.3 million and 2011 is US$1.4 million. In what sort of foundation do you increase the prize money each year?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: Well, we would like to be generous. I think there's no escaping the fact that the prize money is less than it was in 2009.
But we are, as you know, in very hard economic times at the moment, and I think the important thing is that we are bringing the tournament back to Singapore. It's important for Singapore. It presents Singapore in a tremendous light, and as I said earlier on, the players want to come back, and I am convinced that we will have a tremendous tournament with all of the top players in 2010.
In 2011, we have been generous. We have given another 100,000, and I'm sure the players will be very grateful for it.

Q. Just a question for Mr. Morgan and Guy. We have seen a little bit of a shift in terms of sports sponsorship towards Asia maybe escalated by the economic crisis. Do you see this to be really happening? Are your focuses for sports sponsorships moving forward more Asia-centric compared to, I guess, previous decades?
GILES MORGAN: Our sponsorships are business investment tools in order to grow and sustain our business, and there is no doubt at all that one of the strategies for HSBC is to keep growing in Asia; and therefore, you will see that reflected in our sports sponsorships, and indeed, other sponsorships.
In other parts of the world, we are involved in all sorts of other sponsorships that reflect the business needs, whether it be rugby, Rugby Union, whether it be in tennis; around the world, we have 190 sponsorships in over, I think it's now 17 countries. It's a fairly major commitment to sponsorship. But the sponsorships are there to help drive our business and our brand.

Q. Two questions. The first for Robbie. IMG is going to have a couple of years of tournaments, women's tournaments in Singapore. How are you going to operate in the future for this tournament, any special plans?
ROBBIE HENCHMAN: Firstly, I'd just say perhaps, suggest why Singapore is such a phenomenal place to hold events. Logistically, it's an extremely easy and operationally easy place to run tournaments. The government is extremely supportive. The airport is one of the best in the world.
We also have our regional headquarters in terms of our golf business based in Singapore. And for a number of those reasons, along, obviously with our sponsor, HSBC, we decided to host the tournament in Singapore, and we see no reason to change that going forward.

Q. For Mark, you are going to organize this tournament for three conservative years in Singapore. What sort of benefits do you think it will bring to Singapore golf sporting scene?
MARK STEINBERG: Well, I think having a long-term commitment to the event, which HSBC has shown over the years; that's what they are all about. They don't commit to things for a short term.
So I think having a long-term commitment is quite important for the Singapore market, and I think as rob buy and guy can attest, and as Giles stated in his comments, they enjoy sports sponsorship to drive their business and the intention is to host a world-class women's event that helps drive HSBC's business.

Q. From Mexico, we are countries which are so far away from this, the communication is not easy because of the languages, what are you doing to bring people from such far away countries here? How are you helping them on communication and on the transportation, because we are really interesting because Lorena Ochoa is here, so what are you doing to help all of these people to come over here to travel, to communicate and transportation?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: Who are you speaking about specifically, the golfers themselves?

Q. And the people that want to join the games.
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: I see. Who want to play the game, who want to learn the game?

Q. To visit, as a tourism or as culture.
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: Well, it's very early days. We are just announcing the tournament today, and it's quite early on in the preparations for the tournament, which will happen in February.
I'm sure if history is to repeat itself, that people like Lorena will bring her supporters from across the waters to encourage her on, and the other thing, of course you do have to remember, is that Singapore is a very international city. I hesitate to think how many different nationalities actually live in Singapore.
But what is remarkable is that when you walk around the golf course and you see the multitude of different golfers, nationalities of golfers playing, there always seem to be some people from that particular country supporting their favorite players.
So I'm sure there will be plenty of nationalities in the spectator stands, as well as on the fairways. And hopefully tourist companies will pick up the opportunities that do present themselves with the announcement of the Women's Champions coming back to Singapore and take advantage to encourage people from overseas to come for the tournament.
GILES MORGAN: And if I can just quickly add to that, as well, the exciting thing is that the television audience for this tournament will be shown all over the world; and therefore, that global pick-up will we hope inspire many golfers from all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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