Life in 1980s London was bleak, David Thomas said, so when his father, the attorney-general in Hong Kong, suggested David join him in Honkers, David agreed.

Coincidentally, David, the 72nd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, did a similar lunches-with-strangers thing during his eight-year sojourn in Hong Kong.

David would shrewdly use lunches as a way to meet potential clients for a financial services business he’d started. “I know someone in your position would have their finances in order, so I wouldn’t dream of offering you financial advice, but would you mind if we met for lunch so you could offer me some business advice?”

Duly flattered and disarmed, they would meet David for lunch – and, once the relationship was established, would sometimes ask David to manage their finances.

Eventually, David sold his firm and moved to Australia. These days, he runs a different business, Think Global Consulting, which helps Australians do business in China and vice versa.

David also publishes a highly respected daily newsletter, China Bites, which keeps people informed about trends and business opportunities in China.