Flamboyant Poon takes SW1 by storm

Dickson Poon’s life reads like a Hollywood biography of the rich and famous. Born into an affluent Hong Kong family, sent to a British public school, married three times (once to a famous kung fu star), he is now the wealthy entrepreneur behind the successful London store Harvey Nichols.

The fresh-faced Poon, 39, has built a business on appealing to Chuppies – as Chinese yuppies are known. His ventures in the luxury goods market include exclusive dealerships for designer labels such as Charles Jourdan, Polo Ralph Lauren and ST Dupont, the French purveyor of lighters, pens, key rings and gifts.

As chairman of Dickson Concepts (International), owners of Harvey Nichols, Poon was not new to the Knightsbridge store – having been a keen shopper there during his school days in England.

He ventured into the Hong Kong film industry in the mid-Eighties – where he met his second wife, Michelle Yeoh, a kung fu star. He has since split from Yeoh and married a former stock broking analyst.

Poon, with a reputation for being a flamboyant marketer, bought the store from the Burton Group in 1991 saying that Harvey Nichols was, “one of the greatest department stores in the world”.

Analysts say Poon is rarely seen at the Knightsbridge store, leaving it in the hands of his chief executive Joseph Wan. Wan had been the group finance director of Dickson Concepts for five years before joining Harvey Nichols.

Despite his extensive business interests, which started when he was a sales assistant in his father’s Arland Watch Shop in Hong Kong, Poon leads a colourful life.

He regularly attends Hong Kong’s society weddings and cocktail parties and, a year before he bought Harvey Nichols, he laid on six topless dancers to entertain the guests at Dickson Concepts’ tenth anniversary celebrations.

Back in Hong Kong his business interests are to be expanded with more luxury goods stores planned from the 200 retail outlets worldwide. He also tied up a recent distribution deal with Warner Brothers to represent its products in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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