Addison Lee aims for self-driving cars in London within three years

( via – – Mon, 22 Oct 2018) London, Uk – –

Tech pioneer Oxbotica to start mapping public roads as it calls deal with hire firm ‘huge leap’

Self-driving car services could be on the streets of London within three years under a partnership between the private hire firm Addison Lee and the British driverless car pioneers Oxbotica.

The companies have signed a deal to develop and deploy autonomous vehicles in the city by 2021.

Oxbotica will start mapping more than 250,000 miles of public roads in and around London from next month, using its technology to create a comprehensive map of every traffic feature.

While the link-up could eventually allow Addison Lee’s fleet of black Mercedes and Prius cabs to be driven autonomously, the 5,000 drivers in London will remain employed, the firm says. However, it could also offer a cheaper, autonomous ride-sharing version of its hire service. The first stage is likely to be in corporate shuttles, around airports or campuses.

Despite the ambitious time frame, London looks set to be at least a year behind other global cities. Tokyo launched an experimental driverless taxi in August, with a view to having a full service in place in time for the 2020 Olympics.

Toyota, meanwhile, is investing $500m (£388m) to develop an autonomous fleet for Uber, although Uber’s programme was set back when one of its self-driving cars was involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian in the US in March.

Andy Boland, chief executive of Addison Lee, said that although technology could make an autonomous version of their current service feasible in London, “our 5,000 drivers in the UK are going to carry on doing what they are doing. For the foreseeable future I would draw that distinction between premium services, and technology opening those other sorts of services at a relevant price point.”

However, he said a driverless vehicle should eventually prove cheaper to run for the firm: “There are cost savings in the medium term, from maximising asset utilisation.”

The traditional London taxi and private hire trade has been disrupted by Uber offering lower fares, but industry observers have questioned whether Uber could continue to keep prices down in the long term by continuing to use drivers.

Boland said that while plenty of tech firms had eyed the market in a sector that could be worth £28bn a year by 2035, practically implementing autonomous or car-sharing services would still require the kind of fleet, maintenance and customer base his firm already had.

Graeme Smith, chief executive of Oxbotica, said: “This represents a huge leap towards bringing autonomous vehicles into mainstream use on the streets of London, and eventually in cities across the United Kingdom and beyond.”

New York is the next city it will target.

Transport for London said it was committed to engaging with firms using autonomous vehicle technology at the earliest opportunity. Michael Hurwitz, director of transport innovation, said it had the potential to change travel significantly: “All cities across the UK, including London, need to understand the opportunities, risks and challenges they face when considering how transport will operate in the future.”

Addison Lee and Oxbotica were part of the consortium carrying out government-funded studies in Greenwich, south-east London, to investigate whether the public transport network could be complemented with people ride-sharing in driverless pods.

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent



Tobacco giant Philip Morris accused of hypocrisy over anti-smoking ad

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( via – – Mon, 22 Oct 2018) London, Uk – –

One of the world's biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris, has been accused of “staggering hypocrisy” over its new ad campaign that urges smokers to quit.

The Marlboro maker said the move was “an important next step” in its aim to “ultimately stop selling cigarettes”.

But Cancer Research said the firm was simply trying to promote its smoking alternatives, such as heated tobacco.

“This is a staggering hypocrisy,” it said, pointing out the firm still promotes smoking outside the UK.

“The best way Philip Morris could help people to stop smoking is to stop making cigarettes,” George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager said.

The charity said smoking was the leading preventable cause of cancer and it encouraged people to switch away completely from smoking, including through the use of e-cigarettes.

Health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) also criticised the campaign – which is called Hold My Light and has been launched in a four-page wraparound on Monday's Daily Mirror – saying it was a way for Philip Morris to get around the UK's anti-tobacco advertising rules.

There is also a campaign video, which shows a young woman negotiating a Mission Impossible-style room in order to hand her cigarette lighter over to a group of friends, who are supporting her in a bid to give up smoking.

Most forms of tobacco advertising and promotion in the UK are banned, and rules introduced last year mean cigarettes and tobacco must be sold in plain green packets.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said Philip Morris was still advertising its Marlboro brand wherever globally it was legal to do so.

“The fact of the matter is that it can no longer do that in the UK, we're a dark market where all advertising, promotion and sponsorship is banned, and cigarettes are in plain packs.

“So instead Philip Morris is promoting the company name which is inextricably linked with Marlboro,” she said.



Philip Morris has said previously that it wants to achieve a “smoke-free” future.

Like many tobacco firms, Philip Morris is moving towards a focus on new products to replace cigarettes as the number of smokers in the UK continues to decline.

In the UK, it markets several alternatives to cigarettes, including a heated tobacco product, Iqos.

It also owns the Nicocig, Vivid and Mesh e-cigarette brands.

‘It takes time'
The firm's managing director Peter Nixon said its new advertising campaign was “about supporting smokers in finding alternatives”.

Asked why, if Philip Morris was so keen for smokers to quit, it did not simply stop making cigarettes and focus entirely on alternative products, he said it was because smokers would just switch to a rival product.

“Cigarettes still generate 87% of our business. We want to get to [smoke-free] as soon as possible, and we want to be selling alternatives, but it does take time,” he said.

Mr Nixon said the firm had invested over £4bn in developing alternative products to cigarettes.

The campaign suggests four ways to give up cigarettes, including going cold turkey, using nicotine patches, vaping and using heated tobacco products.

In an unusual move, the Daily Mirror made a reference in its editorial column to the advertising feature which envelops the paper. It said it was “pleased to back the campaign”.

It added: “Yes, we were surprised too that this is a campaign created by Philip Morris Ltd. But it can only be a good thing that they are now trying to encourage people to quit cigarettes.”

In July last year, the government set out a plan to make England, in effect, smoke-free in the next few decades.

The new Tobacco Control Plan aimed to cut smoking rates from 15.5% to 12% of the population by 2022.



Danielle Ishak : The woman making robot companions for seniors



For decades, we've dreamed of robots that can be our companions. Now, Danielle Ishak is trying to build one. Named ElliQ, this robot is aimed at the elderly who live alone, and it's in the homes of about a dozen beta testers in the Bay Area. Ishak's task is to study these seniors' interactions with ElliQ to make sure the robot is something they actually want



Starbucks opened their first Italian chain : How well did it go down with the established coffee culture?


CBS This Morning

Since its start in Seattle in the early 1970s, the Starbucks coffee chain has opened shops all over the country and the world, including European nations where coffee culture was already well established. One place they dared not tread was Italy, the coffee-centric land that helped founder Howard Schultz shape the chain's character in the first place.

Seth Doane reports.



View a more eclectic side of London where locals enjoy spending time


Source: Youtube/Love and London

Forget London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square… those areas are super-touristy, crowded, and don't show the character of London. In this video takes you to three areas in London where Londoners enjoy spending time, which shows you the side of the city that is full of character and diverse.

Jollibee Asian Rival to KFC Launches in Britain

( via – – Thu, 18th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –

A multibillion-dollar Asian rival to KFC will make its first foray into the UK on Thursday, opening in London’s Earl’s Court.

Jollibee, which offers single plates combining fried chicken, tomato spaghetti, beef with gravy and rice, has plans for rapid expansion across Europe.

Global chief executive Ernesto Tanmantiong told The Daily Telegraph that Jollibee is targeting 25 stores in Britain and 50 across Europe over the next five years.

Jollibee Foods Corporation is a $5.2bn market cap company headquartered in Manila. It operates 14 brands across 4,300 outlets worldwide. It is the sixth biggest food service company in the US by virtue of its controlling stake in the Smashburger chain. In September last year it was reportedly teeing up a $1bn approach for Pret a Manger.

The company’s flagship brand is Jollibee itself, which boasts 1,200 stores and whose eclectic menu has been particularly successful in Vietnam and China.

Mr Tanmantiong explained he started out “with two ice cream parlours in 1975”.

“We see that the UK has a very big fried chicken market,” he said, adding that he expects the company’s trademark Chickenjoy to quickly gain popularity.

Mr Tanmantiong said when Jollibee Foods Corporation launches in a new country ex-pat Filipinos dominate the customer base initially.

However, he insisted that more than half of customers in countries outside of the Philippines are now “locals”.

Considered a national treasure in the Philippines, fans in the US have reportedly waited for hours when new stores have opened. The first Manhattan store was opened earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the Jollibee boss shrugged off growing concerns over healthy eating. “We are looking into that as well,” he said. “But customers come to Jollibee for the Chickenjoy.”

By Oliver Gill



John Lewis to launch after-hours service for big spenders

Mankind 2k

( via – – Wed, 17th Oct 2018) London, Uk – –

New Cheltenham store will offer after-hours service for those willing to spend big

John Lewis is offering big spenders the opportunity to get its new Cheltenham shop all to themselves for the evening – as long as they’re prepared to put £10,000 into the tills.

The “private shopping” service, where staff will be available after normal shopping hours specifically to serve individuals, groups of friends or a family, is a step into the territory of luxury boutiques and Bond Street stores such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès.

It is one of 20 different services being offered at the department store’s latest outlet, which opens on Thursday. Another new service is called the Shopping List, under which a member of John Lewis’s team can be booked free of charge to gather either a specific basket of items or to help pick out gifts for specific people.

Peter Cross, director of customer experience, said: “Previously the reserve of exclusive boutiques for the famous few, this autumn in Cheltenham, with the help of our army of expertly trained partners, we are bringing the intimacy, luxury and magic of personal shopping to the high street.”

John Lewis – which is owned by its staff, known as partners – is trying to fight the flight to online shopping by offering a growing array of services that can’t be delivered via the internet.

The managing director, Paula Nickolds, has said its stores needed to sell experiences to fight for a slice of discretionary consumer spending against mini-breaks, gym classes and nights out.

She has brought in experience desks where a concierge helps book appointments for blowdrys, manicures and personal shopping services, which are now hosted in an increasing number of stores.

Cheltenham will also have a personal shopping suite, including the group’s first lounge dedicated to men.

The chain also recently rebranded to add “& Partners” to its name, in a bid to emphasise the importance of the service offered by its staff, who all get a bonus based on profits at the end of the year.

All department stores are under pressure because their large premises and typically lengthy rent deals with landlords have made it difficult to adapt to a fall in the number of shoppers visiting the high street.

House of Fraser is closing stores after being rescued from administration by Sports Direct, while the Debenhams share price has slumped after a string of profit warnings.

John Lewis’s profits have also taken a battering as it has been forced to match its ailing rivals’ discounts under its “never knowingly undersold” policy. It has also spent millions of pounds on improving its home delivery infrastructure and IT systems to cater to demand for online shopping.

By Sarah Butler


15 unbelievable Things Rich People Did With Their Money



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Dubai’s Truly Remarkable Sustainable City Housing Development


An amazing day at the Sustainable City, a housing development in Dubai with 3,500 people already living there and it's still not quite finished.This truly is a remarkable achievement, a stark lesson to building contractors the world over. It's not more expensive to build and it's hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.



Singapore Airlines relaunched world’s longest commercial flight

Wikimedia/Julian Herzog

( via – – Fri, Oct 2018) London, Uk –

The has left Singapore for New York, beginning a journey scheduled to cover more than 15,000km in almost 19 hours.

Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after it was cut because it had become too expensive.

Flight SQ22 departed at 15:37GMT with 150 passengers and 17 crew.

The inaugural flight from Changi Airport to Newark's international airport, which services New York, took off amid much fanfare.

However, Singapore Airlines told passengers before take off that their flight to Newark, while still the world's longest flight by distance, could only take some 17 hours.

Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha.

Have passengers been snapping up the tickets?

Singapore Airlines (SIA) said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover.

Ahead of the take-off, the airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked, and there were “a very limited number” of premium economy seats left.

The airline is not planning to offer any economy bookings on the route.

A business class ticket will entitle passengers to two meals, and the choice of when they are served, plus refreshments in between. They will also have a bed to sleep in.

Premium economy fares will get three meals at fixed times, with refreshments in between.

Do people want to fly for 19 hours?

The brand new Airbus plane that SIA is using has been configured to seat 161 passengers in all – 67 business passengers and 94 premium economy passengers.

“The thinking behind that is that they are selling a premium product – it's for the top end of town,” says aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, who was booked on to Thursday's flight.

“This is a route between two massive financial hubs, and so they will fill this plane up with business people, or well-heeled travellers who want the convenience of a non stop flight.

“It's also been proven that when carriers introduce a new non-stop route, the traffic on that route increases threefold.”

Mr Thomas, the editor-in-chief of airline rating site, has been on several such inaugural flights, including Qantas' new long-haul from Perth to London, inaugurated earlier this year.

He said: “The Qantas flight to London was a huge event. We were basically on our feet for the entire flight, it was incredibly exciting. There's almost a party atmosphere on board.”

Qantas meanwhile is in advanced discussions with Airbus and Boeing over an aircraft capable of making a 20-hour flight between London and Sydney.

The Australian national flag carrier also plans to fly non-stop from Australia to North America – slightly shorter than the London-Sydney non-stop flight.

But Max Kingsley-Jones, group editor of Flight Global, warned that plans for new non-stop routes had a habit of changing in line with the economics of the world.

“In the boom times you get a lot of what we call direct-connect flights between smaller cities… [then] each time there's a downturn you see all those tail off, and then we go back to people flying over hubs,” he told the BBC's Today programme.

“Even though it costs more for an airline to fly over a hub, they'll always charge you less because of the disadvantage of going via somewhere else.”

Which route will the flight take?
Of two possible routes that SIA could take to Newark, SIA has told passengers it will take the North Pacific route.

Mr Thomas says it will cover a distance of some 15,341km, but reminds non-aviation experts that while the distance between destinations remains constant, the distance flown and flight times can vary because of tailwinds, headwinds and any need for weather-related diversions.

“When you've got some good strong jet streams going in an easterly direction, which is the way we'll go, then we will fly over Japan, then over the North Pacific, possibly touching into Alaska, then down through Canada into Newark.”


Is this the future of long-haul travel?
The A350-900 ULR (ultra-long-range) that set off on Thursday from Singapore to Newark belongs to Airbus' family of long-range, twin-engine aircraft.

The planes have been designed to replace Boeing's older 777 series and use between 20% and 30% less fuel than the 777s did – which is a good thing amid rising oil prices.

Singapore Airlines launched the same non-stop route between Changi and Newark in 2004, but by 2013 the carrier was forced to cancel it. The A340-500 it was using at the time used a lot of fuel and eventually the route became too expensive to run.

Several carriers already use the newer A350-900s on their long-haul routes. They have higher ceilings, larger windows and lighting designed to reduce jetlag – all good things for busy business travellers.

But the ultra-long-range version that SIA has bought from Airbus has the longest capability of any aircraft flying today, thanks in part to a slightly modified fuel system.

It can fly for 20 hours non-stop, which most aviation experts will tell you is the future of very long-haul travel for business and pleasure.

Mr Thomas says it's been proven over and over again that people want to fly non-stop, “so these sorts of aeroplanes are set to gain terrific momentum”.

“Qantas' flight from Perth to London is seeing a load factor in economy of 92% – and in premium it's 94%. So from an airline perspective, these routes are money-making.

“We really are entering a new era of travel.”

By Sarah Porter



Google Pixel smartphone third edition debut with 10 events across the world


QLM Image

( via — Tue, 9 Oct, 2018) London, UK —

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will unveil the third edition of its Pixel smartphone at 10 media events across the world on Tuesday, a hint that it is prepared to expand geographic distribution of a device it hopes someday is as popular as Apple Inc’s iPhone.

Google’s free Android software operates most of the world’s smartphones. But the company three years ago branched into hardware to have products where, like Apple, it could have full control of the performance of its applications and the revenue they generate.

Though Google has succeeded in selling lower-priced devices such as smart speakers and home routers, the phones have been a tougher sell.

Google shipped 2.53 million Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices through the nine months ended June 30, garnering less than 1 percent of the global market for smartphones, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

The first Pixel devices reached 2.4 million shipments in the nine months ended June 30, 2017, the firm said.

Limited adoption has reflected Google’s hesitancy to go as wide and big in distributing and marketing the Pixel as Apple, which launched its last two iPhone line-ups in about 50 countries.

Going from a small experiment to a polished product backed by large sales, support and technical teams has been part of Google’s challenge.

Last year’s Pixel 2 arrived with bugs that prompted user complaints about unwanted noises during calls, a crashing camera app and an unexpected screen tint.

Google initially sold the Pixel 2 and its larger-sibling, Pixel 2 XL, in six countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany and India, after an unveiling in San Francisco.

This year, Google is hosting events for the Pixel 3 in cities such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Singapore, spokesman Kay Oberbeck said.

Google Assistant, the signature virtual helper feature on the Pixel that was available in six languages a year ago, now supports 16.

Privacy and security features also could be top talking points about the Pixel 3 as Google and other big U.S. tech companies try to bounce back from recent data breach scandals.

A U.S. regulatory filing points to Google’s matching on Tuesday rivals Inc and Facebook Inc with a smart speaker that has a display to show visual responses to voice commands.

Amazon shipped 21.5 million smart speakers, including those with displays, in the year ended June 30, compared with 18.3 million for Google, according to research firm Canalys.

Reporting by Paresh Dave


Why Sam’s Club Is Disappearing Across The US


It's easy to forget that both Walmart and Sam's Club started with one man and his five-and-dime store. They've become juggernauts of today's retail landscape, and when Sam's Club opened in 1983, it was designed to be a one-stop shop for business owners. Today, they're a no-frills warehouse that's become as handy for families as for businesses…



15 Books Bill Gates Recommends Everyone Should Read

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A Tour of The World’s Most Luxurious VIP Airport Terminal

Sam Chui

A tour of the world's most luxurious VIP Airport Terminal in Dubai South. Check out the amazing facility of JetEx and one of a kind duty free shopping such as BMW and Rolls Royce sports cars! This video gives you an insight how the rich and VIP travels.


Why Christian Louboutin’s Trademark Red-Bottomed Iconic Shoes Are So Expensive


Business Insider

Christian Louboutin's trademark red-bottomed shoes have become iconic. Beyoncé wore a custom pair of boots for her Coachella performance, and Cardi B slipped on a pair of “bloody shoes” for her “Bodak Yellow” music video. But why do these heels cost hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars?



Will Renting Rather Than Buying Our Clothes Be The Future

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( via – – Sat, 29th Sept 2018) London, Uk – –

The BBC's Circular Economy series highlights the ways we are designing systems to reduce the waste modern society generates, by reusing and repurposing products. This week we look at whether we will be renting our clothes instead of buying them in future.

Earlier this year a rather surprising marketing video went viral in China. The film, fronted by a social media influencer called Jiang Chacha takes viewers on a tour, not of a trendy night spot or fashionable clothes store but an industrial-scale laundry operation.

The company behind the ad, Beijing start-up YCloset, isn't selling laundry services, however. Instead it will rent you the latest in women's fashions.

Doris Ke, who created the campaign, says some Chinese consumers are still unsure about wearing clothes that have been worn before. The aim was to reassure them by showing the steam cleaners, the microscopes and the banks of washing machines they use to clean garments between loans.


At the end of the film Jiang Chacha is offered a glass of water that has been through the washing machine – implying it would be clean enough to drink.

YCloset, like other fashion rental companies springing up around the globe, believes once it's ironed out wrinkles such as anxieties over cleanliness, the idea of fashion rental is ready to go mainstream.

And while its motives may be about building the business, if the idea does catch on, it could also disrupt the current trend towards ever more disposable fashion and help reduce the environmental impact of one of the most resource intensive industries.

While it's always been possible to rent a tuxedo, a ball-gown or a fancy-dress costume, rental firms are now chasing the market for everyday wear. They argue the time is ripe for a Netflix or a Spotify of fashion, that could see us all renting clothes as a matter of course.

So Doris Ke's next campaign for YCloset showed a young business woman, who rented her wardrobe for work and eventually became so successful she outdid her boss and made it into Forbes magazine – to persuade Chinese women take more care over what they wear to work.

In this respect, YCloset is following the same path as firms like New York-based Rent the Runway, which pioneered the rental concept back in 2009, as well as its San Francisco rival Le Tote, and in the UK, Girl Meets Dress.

As well as offering one-off rentals, they now offer customers subscription packages that allow them to have several garments at a time for a flat monthly fee.

Rent the Runway's CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman has been explicit about her ambition to “put H&M and Zara out of business”.

Likewise, YCloset's chief operating officer Michael Wang has said it is “targeting the fast fashion daily wear market, where people can wear our products to work, during the weekend and also to a party”.

The firm says 10 million Chinese women have registered with it, even if they don't all yet use it. Rent the Runway says nine million are “members” though that doesn't mean they all use the service.

In the UK, Girl Meets Dress's founder, Anna Bance, says the same shift towards a more everyday role for rentals is happening at her firm, which started out predominantly lending designer dresses.

“Already it's not just for special occasions,” says Ms Bance. Some customers may want one dress a year “for their husband's work do in the city” but others are changing their habits and hiring a couple of dresses a week.

She says increasingly customers view it as a “frictionless” service alongside shopping for new clothes, but one that gives them access to higher quality and designer items. She thinks we could eventually be spending half of our clothes budgets on renting rather than buying.


That is already the case for 29-year-old New York-based Mila Petrova. As a business consultant she dresses smartly every day. But as she “hates shopping” and was already fed up with her high dry cleaning bill, she has switched to renting four outfits a week from Rent the Runway.

She wears them Monday to Thursday, then returns them and picks out new outfits online for the following week.

“I use it purely for making my life easier at work,” she says. But she notes that most of her friends, though they've happily embraced other parts of the sharing economy, haven't followed suit.

“Some people really like new stuff,” she says, “buying and owning clothes” while others see it as an unnecessary extra expense.

It's our love of buying new stuff, that has made fashion one of the most environmentally damaging industries, says the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which launched a campaign earlier this year to encourage fashion firms to shift towards more “circular” patterns of resource use, reducing waste, and reusing resources more.

The trend amongst “generation Instagram” is to wear clothes on fewer occasions before they're thrown away or dumped in the back of a wardrobe, says Francois Souchet from the Foundation. They calculate that if you are able to double the number of times you wear a garment, you decrease its environmental footprint by 44%.

As rental firms make higher profits the more times they can rent out a garment; a shift to renting also implies a shift to products that are better made and longer wearing – another step towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

Moreover, firms like Le Tote, Girl Meets Dress, Rent the Runway and YCloset are applying the same kind of principles as their fast fashion rivals when it comes to using data analysis to track which styles are popular and which are most durable.

That in turn helps to avoid waste.

Mr Souchet says that while he doesn't see the rental model as a solution on its own to the challenges of fast fashion, he is hopeful that it will contribute to a change in the way we consume clothes.

That might rely in the long run on whether any big established players choose to back the model.

China's internet giant Alibaba, which has a track record of experimenting in the retail space, has already invested in both YCloset and Rent the Runway; while Amazon has been working hard at taking a large share of the US clothing retail market.

“It wouldn't be completely crazy” says Mr Souchet, to imagine both these online giants moving into rental fashion too, which would put a different perspective altogether on just how mainstream the idea could go.

By Lucy Hooker


Haidilao Hotpot chain shares climb 10% in Hong Kong debut

( via – – Wed, 26th Sept 2018) London, Uk – –

Beijing-based international hotpot chain Haidilao saw its shares climb as much as 10% in early trade, as it made its debut in Hong Kong.

The firm's retail shares were oversubscribed by more than five times, highlighting the intense interest from investors.

The restaurant is famous for offering free manicures and snacks while you wait up to two hours for a table.

It is one of several high-profile debuts in Hong Kong this year.

Haidilao's shares, which were priced at 17.80 Hong Kong dollars ($2.27; £1.73) – the top end of the indicated range – opened at HK$18.80, and rose to as much as HK$19.56 in early trade.

However, by the close of trade they were at HK$17.82.

Haidilao International Holding, the hotpot restaurant's owner, said it was aiming to raise $HK7.3bn ($935m; £711m) via its listing, with some 60% of the proceeds already destined to finance part of its global expansion plan.

The company has 363 restaurants in total – the bulk of which are on mainland China.

It operates 31 restaurants in Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and has international outlets in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the US.

Research firm Frost and Sullivan has said it is the fastest-growing major Chinese cuisine restaurant brand on mainland China, and globally, with revenues jumping 36% between 2016 and 2017.

Despite the chain's infamous waiting times, Haidilao reckons it still seats more than 100 million guests a year around the world.