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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry hkskyline no more crispy pigeon!


Hong Kong Losing to Shanghai Means Goodbye to Long Lunch
By Hanny Wan - Oct 17, 2010 12:01 PM ET

Equities traders in Hong Kong may soon have to say goodbye to lunches of sautéed ostrich and crispy pigeon at Michelin-starred restaurants and settle for a sandwich at their desks instead.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Charles Li wants to cut in half the two-hour break, the longest of the world’s 20 largest bourses, to bring trading in line with China’s financial markets. Bankers like Alex Wong say the break is useful for meeting clients and attending presentations.

“One hour just isn’t enough,” said Wong, asset-management director at Ample Capital Ltd., whose lunch haunts include the Golden Leaf at the Conrad Hotel and restaurants at the Four Seasons, Shangri-La and Marriott. “The time will have gone by the time I’ve walked out of the office -- waiting for the elevator alone could take 10 minutes during lunch.”

The difference in trading hours gives traders in Shanghai and Shenzhen a head start over Hong Kong investors in reacting to market news, said Li. Mainland companies accounted for 47 percent of the HK$19.69 trillion ($2.5 trillion) market value of Hong Kong’s Main Board on Sept. 30, exchange data shows, up from 16 percent in 1997, when the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China.

Chinese and Hong Kong markets trade for four hours daily. Shanghai’s trading hours run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a 90- minute break between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Hong Kong runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a two-hour break from 12:30 p.m.

Li proposed Hong Kong starts trading half an hour earlier, with a 1-hour or 1 ½-hour break at noon, keeping the close at 4 p.m. -- increasing daily trading by up to 90 minutes.

International Market

“His thinking is more on how to get Hong Kong to become an international market for international players, rather than catering to investors who are already based in Hong Kong,” said Pauline Dan, chief investment officer at Samsung Investment Trust, which oversees about $78 billion in assets. “That time is when we can make the best use for lunch presentations and meetings. One hour definitely isn’t enough.”

The two-hour lunch break, in place since the stock exchange was formed in 1986, harks back to a slower pace of life during colonial days, said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd.

“Back in the colonial days, those expatriate bankers -- super emperors -- had to live an easy life,” he said. “They couldn’t take things too quickly.”

Li invited brokers and investors at the Hong Kong exchange to respond to a consultation paper on the change in hours by Oct. 29. On the London Stock Exchange there hasn’t been a lunchtime trading break since at least 1950, spokesman Jonny Blostone said, while New York had lost the luxury of a lunch hiatus by 1887.

Last Battle

Frankfurt, Paris and London open for more than 8 hours daily, while New York trades for 6 1/2 hours. Singapore is proposing to boost its hours to eight from 6 1/2 by also cutting its lunch break. Tokyo is considering increasing trading to more than 6 hours from 4 ½.

Hong Kong’s brokers have battled to keep their long lunch in the past. Seven years ago the exchange withdrew an attempt to shorten the lunch break amid opposition from traders.

“I’d only have time to hop downstairs,” said Castor Pang, research director at Cinda International Holdings Ltd., who uses his lunchtimes for meetings or to attend company presentations. “Lunches at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental would be history.”

Many in the finance industry support Li’s proposal, pointing out the business advantages of trading at the same time as mainland bourses.

“I can foresee more new products, including bond, fund, insurance products, and listed securities by companies, followed by arbitrage activities,” said Benson Chan, chief executive officer of CASH Financial Services Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. “If trading hours in Hong Kong and the mainland don’t overlap, it would be difficult for such arbitrage.”

iPad Broking

Chan pointed out that some of his firm’s brokers already trade for their clients from outside the exchange via mobile devices such as netbooks and Apple Inc. iPads.

“At the end of the day, these are just a change of habit,” he said.

Or a change of menu, suggests Susanna Lo, the Conrad’s marketing and communications manager. “A lot of traders like to dine with us,” she said, suggesting that customers pressed for time might opt to switch to dim sum instead of a three-course meal with main dishes like sautéed ostrich or roasted whole crispy pigeon.

At Liberty Exchange Kitchen and Bar in Two Exchange Square, a two-minute walk from the trading floor, manager Paul Tai is preparing for the possible change in hours.

“If you put yourself into their shoes, you’d realize one hour just isn’t enough, not just for the brokers, but lawyers or accountants who work closely with them,” said Tai. “Probably more people will order takeout or delivery.”

Loss of Trade

Hong Kong-based shareholder activist David Webb said the city’s long lunch break causes a loss of trading business from European investors as they start their working day. According to a survey of almost 600 responses on his website, only 19 percent want to keep the two-hour break, while more than half think it should be done away with altogether.

“Just go for a single 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. session,” Webb said. “An increasing amount of retail broking takes place online anyway and computers don’t need to shut down for lunch.”

Hong Kong Exchanges said in its three-year strategic plan released in March, the first under Li’s stewardship, that it plans to become a primary channel for investing by Chinese nationals overseas. The plan also proposed new products such as yuan-denominated bonds.

“As Hong Kong and the exchange move to have more renminbi- denominated instruments, it’s only logical that trading times align more closely to the mainland,” said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading Ltd. “Shortening the market lunch break is another piece of the old-school brokers life that is being dragged into modern times.”

142,739 Posts
Don't think an hour is enough for lunch either. The better restaurants have really bad queues. I think 90 minutes is more realistic.

And don't expect traders to grab take-out to eat at their terminals either. :)

142,739 Posts
Don't think an hour is enough for lunch either. The better restaurants have really bad queues. I think 90 minutes is more realistic.

And don't expect these traders to grab take-out to eat at their terminals either. :)

142,739 Posts
Stock market prepares for longer work day
The Standard
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brokers are going to have to forget about long and leisurely lunches but investors will soon have more time to chase fortunes or consolidate what they already hold.

For under a revised timetable at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange - one that aligns it with market operations in the mainland - investors will from March 7 have five hours to trade stocks.

The present schedule is from 10am until noon and then 2.30-4pm.

Under a first phase of adjusting the schedule, which was agreed at a board meeting of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388) yesterday, trading days will start at 9.30am and break for lunch at noon. Then it is back to business at 1.30pm until 4pm.

And from March 2012, there will likely be even less time for lunch - an hour from noon until 1pm - to make for a 5-hour trading day.

That compares to the mainland's 9.30-11am and 1-3pm sessions.

"The decision was made after considering views from various parties," said HKEx chairman Ronald Arculli.

There was support for a lunch break of one hour to come sooner rather than later, he added, "but implementation in two phases will give the market time to adapt."

While the extension of hours is a definite starter for early in March, there will be trials before the new schedule goes into operation. But Arculli said he does not expect any changes, indicating a determination to push forward to the 5-hour trading day.

The changes are driven by new market realities.

More mainland firms are listing in Hong Kong, so news from across the border is becoming increasingly vital - and often sensitive - in affecting share prices.

Overlapping trading hours with the mainland mean better price discovery power and allow investors to adjust their plans accordingly, a spokesperson for HKEx said.

The tie-in with the mainland market will also strengthen HKEx business when competing with foreign markets.

Extended trading hours are in fact a world trend.

The Singapore Exchange - which last month proposed a merger with its Australian counterpart in Sydney - has recently cleared a plan to extend trading hours and to skip a lunch break. Its trading hours from next year will be 9am-5pm.

Chew Sutat, its corporate and strategies chief, has said that overlapping with other exchanges means Singapore can secure more trading activity.

William Lee, chairman of the Hong Kong Brokers Association and executive director of Hoitung International Securities (0665), welcomed the changes.

Market competitiveness will be enhanced, he said, and Hoitung is adjusting its systems accordingly.

All 13 HKEx board members attended yesterday's meeting, and most agreed to the new trading hours following a consultation exercise that ended last month.

There were 600 responses to the consultation, though apparently there were differences about the lunch break being shortened.

In any event, the consultation conclusions and then the board conclusions will be published in due course, HKEx says.

Meanwhile, HKEx is moving on hosting services at its Tseung Kwan O data center.

4,498 Posts
Guest post: Why Shanghai isn’t challenging Hong Kong
March 10, 2011 11:00 pm by beyondbrics

By Shaun Rein of China Market Research Group

“Shanghai will become Asia’s finance center,” the Hong Konger said dejectedly. With “power tilting to the mainland,” he continued, “Hong Kong will become an afterthought.”

Is he right? Are the doomsday scenarios that have haunted Hong Kong since the handover in 1997 finally coming true?

It might appear so as towering skyscrapers like the just-opened HSBC towers in the IFC dot the Shanghai skyline. Investment banking profits are soaring as Chinese companies like Youku skip the HKSE to list in America. Trying to cash in on profits, financial institutions have announced mad hiring sprees: Citigroup for one will triple its mainland employees to 10,000. Every week a billion-dollar hedge fund or private equity firm seems to announce an office there.

Yet, as confident now in my adopted city’s growth prospects as I was when I moved to Shanghai a decade ago, Hong Kongers don’t need to fear that Shanghai is poised to replace their home as a financial powerhouse anytime soon for three main reasons:

Education, still a thorn

First, Shanghai’s talent pool is weak. Although Shanghai middle school students generally outperform Hong Kongers and Americans on standardised tests, the reality is that Shanghai’s education system does not adequately prepare its students for a globalised world.

They focus too much on rote memory and not enough on training students to think analytically. The biggest obstacle for growth – according to several dozen senior finance executives we’ve spoken to – is not government regulation or corruption but the lack of qualified talent. Turnover often tops 30 per cent a year as loyalty is in short supply.

Even hiring secretaries is tough as anyone who can do PowerPoint or write an email in English wants to be an analyst. Hong Kong’s relatively strong university system prepares a larger group of students qualified for low and middle management financial sector positions.

Tax, tax, tax
Second, China’s personal income tax is far too high, which leaves bankers unwilling to relocate to the mainland where the highest-income tax brackets rise to 45 per cent versus the 17.5 per cent flat tax in Hong Kong. Finance executives prefer to be based in Hong Kong and fly into Shanghai during the week – it’s only a 2-hour flight.

China’s personal income tax system is going under major reform as it tries to eliminate taxes on poor people to spur more domestic consumption, but it’s doubtful high earners will get any break anytime soon. To stave off inflation and oversized economic disparity, the government is actually increasing taxes on wealthy people through property taxes on luxury apartments and is talking about implementing more capital gains taxes.

Cheap? Not anymore
Finally, many wrongly feel Shanghai is a cheap place to live. It is not if you want to buy global brands and pay for international school tuition fees for the children. All those luxury brands like Omega and Zegna that bankers and their significant others like to buy cost 20-30 per cent more than in Hong Kong because of import duties. Car prices are even higher than that, with the Mercedes S600 topping $350,000.

The reality is that most bankers now enjoy a cheaper life in Hong Kong than Shanghai. Bankers have to justify working 100 hours a week by buying the good things in life – and salaries go farther now in Hong Kong than Shanghai for the finer things.

No, Hong Kong is not about to be eclipsed by Shanghai as a financial powerhouse anytime soon because it has a strong education system, better tax code and is cheaper to live in. Hong Kong cannot sit on its laurels, however, and needs to continue to evolve to remain competitive, as Shanghai is catching on fast.

3,202 Posts
Quite to the point. Thanks for posting!

Tax, tax, tax
Second, China’s personal income tax is far too high, which leaves bankers unwilling to relocate to the mainland where the highest-income tax brackets rise to 45 per cent versus the 17.5 per cent flat tax in Hong Kong. Finance executives prefer to be based in Hong Kong and fly into Shanghai during the week – it’s only a 2-hour flight.
Thing is our tax rate isn't flat, and if you are lucky enough to be taxed on a flat rate basis it is 15% ;)

142,739 Posts
I think people are too concerned with the worst case scenario, which is not going to happen since the central government has made it clear they want HK to remain a thriving financial centre.

Tax shouldn't have a major play in all this as the Americans and British charge very high income and corporate taxes, yet New York and London can still survive.

142,739 Posts
Asia falls overshadow longer hours
The Standard
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The first day of extended trading hours on the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday did not boost sentiment and trading volumes, due to falls in most regional bourses.
Even a rally in mainland stocks failed to lift local shares.

The Hang Seng Index closed 0.4 percent lower at 23,313.19.

Turnover was sluggish at HK$66.9 billion, as compared with HK$74.6 billion on Friday.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.83 percent higher at 2,996.21 points.

Analysts, saying local stocks have pretty much reached their short-term trough, are banking on a switch in direction.

"Expect the market sentiment to turn positive," said Linus Yip Sheung-chi at First Shanghai Securities.

The new trading times of the stock exchange are 9.30am to noon and 1.30pm to 4pm.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388) gave up 1 percent to end at HK$167.90.

Mainland shares jumped as investors reacted to the government's pledge to maintain economic growth this year at 8 percent, lower than expected inflation last month, and signs that Beijing is holding off on high-handed action to force manufacturers to meet energy targets.

Oil stocks soared with crude oil surging to a 29-month high, but airlines struggled.

CNOOC (0883), the mainland's biggest offshore oil producer, gained 1.9 percent to HK$18.16, while PetroChina (0857) rose 0.3 percent to HK$10.90. Cathay Pacific Airways (0293), on the other hand, plunged 3.5 percent and Air China (0753) lost 3.9 percent.

Meanwhile, HKEx wants to adjust the spreads for regular stocks.

The spread for those with prices between 25 HK cents and 50 HK cents will be trimmed from 0.5 HK cents to 0.1 HK cents, a source said. That for stocks between 50 HK cents and HK$5 may be narrowed from 1 HK cent to half a cent.

Spreads for warrants will remain unchanged.

"There will be technical difficulties with the change," said Yip.

9,950 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hong Kong Brokers Boo Exchanges' Li to Protest Shorter Lunch

Kana Nishizawa and Fox Hu

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg)
-- Hong Kong securities traders and brokers, who last year lost the longest lunch break of the world's 20 biggest exchanges, marched to the city's bourse and booed at executives to protest a further reduction.

About 1,000 brokers and restaurant staff gathered at the headquarters of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. yesterday, booing Chief Executive Charles Li and Chairman Ronald Arculli when they came out of the office to receive a letter of protest for the plan to cut the lunch hour further from March 5.

Hong Kong Exchanges' Li is seeking to cut the lunch break to one hour from 90 minutes, arguing it may boost business as trading hours are brought in line with China's markets. Rivals in the region have also enacted similar measures with Tokyo shortening its midday halt and Singapore scrapping its break.

"We'll work together to find ways to solve the lunch problem," Li told reporters yesterday after meeting the protesters. "It's necessary to move on. We shouldn't stop our reform."

Li cut the break from two hours last year. Shanghai's trading hours run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a 90-minute stoppage between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Hong Kong will operate from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a one-hour break between noon and 1 p.m. after the proposed change.

The protesters, a mixture of gray-haired brokers and young women in suits and sweaters, marched from Statue Square in the central business district to the bourse's headquarters after the market closed. To chants of "Hong Kong Exchange is inhumane," the protesters waved picket signs and raised fists.

Picket Signs

"All the brokers in Hong Kong are so stretched," said Ruann Cheung, who works at Lippo Securities Holdings Ltd. "With a shorter lunch break, we cannot concentrate in the afternoon."

Cheung and five colleagues were gathered around a picket sign that said: "You want us to trade till we drop. We want you to drop before we trade!"

The booing grew louder as Arculli and Li walked among the protesters.

"The important thing is they came out to receive our letter, showing they are paying attention," said Patrick Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Employees Union and organizer of the demonstration. "Last time, they just sent a senior official to receive the letter."

The letter listed the reasons for opposing the trading hour extension, including possibilities of health problems, unemployment and social instability.

China Competition

Hong Kong is competing with Shanghai to be the center for Chinese trading, and the move to align itself more closely with markets in the mainland comes as more Chinese companies list in the city.

Mainland Chinese companies accounted for 46 percent of the HK$17.5 trillion ($2.3 trillion) market value of Hong Kong's Main Board on Dec. 30, exchange data shows, up from 16 percent in 1997, when the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China.

The exchange has to cater to interests in China and internationally, and "if we don't do it, we may lose some competitive edge to rivals," Arculli said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange last year reduced its lunch break to one hour. Singapore Exchange Ltd. scrapped its break, joining Australia, South Korea and India on the list of Asia-Pacific markets that trade without an interval.

Restaurants Suffer

The shorter lunch break has hurt restaurants, said Jacky Choi, the assistant manager at Treasure Lake Golden Banquet, which has 15 stores in the Central and Sheung Wan business districts. Income for each of the restaurant dropped by about HK$10,000 a day after the first reduction in trading break, he said.

Brokers use the break to communicate with clients and one hour is not enough, the union's Lam said. The bourse's argument that it will make the exchange more competitive is not a strong enough reason, he said.

"Turnover at the Hong Kong exchange hasn't increased since the first phase of the lunch cut," said Lam.

The average daily turnover in the city has been HK$67.8 billion since the bourse reduced its break on March 7 last year to the current 90 minutes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's less than the HK$69.8 billion average for the same period a year earlier, when traders still enjoyed their two-hour lunch break. The average number of common shares traded has dropped by 28 percent to 11.1 billion.

'Happy Compromise'

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index tumbled 20 percent last year, its first annual drop since 2008, with developers and banks tumbling as China took steps to curb inflation and Europe's debt crisis threatened global growth. The decline compares with a little changed Standard & Poor's 500 Index and an 11 percent drop for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

The shares of the bourse operator slid 0.5 percent to HK$123.30 today, while city's benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 0.6 percent.

"Maybe we can compromise to make everyone happy," said Louis Lai, a stock broker at Phillip Securities who is also part of the union. "There's no urgent need to further cut it back to one hour."

:eek:hno: Sounds like an hour for lunch is inhumane.

142,739 Posts
LCQ13: Trading hours of Hong Kong stock exchange market
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):


Some securities practitioners have recently relayed to me that after the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) had changed the trading hours, not only was their lunch time shortened, but the administrative or other work done by them during the lunch break in the past was also seriously affected. Some securities practitioners have further pointed out that since they needed time to complete their work, they actually did not have time for meals during the lunch break. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:

(a) the number of views and complaints about the change in trading hours received by the regulatory authorities and HKEx from members of the trade since HKEx changed the trading hours; whether the regulatory authorities and HKEx have followed up such views and complaints; if they have, the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) whether HKEx has conducted any assessment and review on the actual effectiveness of extending the trading hours; if it has, the assessment and review outcomes; if not, whether HKEx has already planned to conduct such a review; if there is a specific plan, the details; if there is no such plan, the reasons for that; and

(c) given that HKEx has indicated that the lunch break in the stock exchange market may be further shortened in the future, whether HKEx has any plan at present to conduct consultation on such an arrangement or has even decided to implement the further extension of trading hours; if it has, the reasons for that?



My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Company Limited (HKEx) has on many occasions met the representatives of the securities industry, including those of frontline staff and other market practitioners, to discuss the arrangement on the extension of trading hours and listen to their views. Recently, HKEx has exchanged views with the industry again on January 12 and February 9, 2012. At the same time, the Government and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) discuss with the industry on issues of their concerns from time to time and encourage the industry to enhance communication with HKEx in order to address the industry's concerns. HKEx noted that many financial institutions, including some brokerage firms and banks, provided one-hour lunch break for employees and advocated to the employers of brokerage firms to work out measures for their employees to alleviate their workload during lunch hours, for example, taking turns for lunch break.

(b) Hong Kong is the international financial centre of China and our market is closely connected to the Mainland's. Almost 60% of our market capitalisation and over 70% of our market turnover come from Mainland-related securities, while growing numbers of our derivative products, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and structured products have Mainland-related securities as underlying assets. With the further opening up of the Mainland market and Hong Kong serving as an offshore Renminbi centre, inter-market trading activities and the number of products cross-listed between the Hong Kong and Mainland markets are poised to increase. Such products will include Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) products, ETFs with Hong Kong stocks as underlying traded in the Mainland, Renminbi ETFs with Mainland A shares as underlying to be traded in Hong Kong.

In view of the increasing importance of the Mainland financial market as well as the closer interconnections between the Hong Kong and Mainland markets, the extension of trading hours can allow the trading hours of our market to overlap squarely with those of the Mainland's so as to improve the price discovery function for Mainland-related securities traded in Hong Kong market with a view to promoting the development of cross-market products. On the other hand, it is a global trend to shorten or even remove the lunch break in the securities markets. For instance, Singapore Exchange has already removed their lunch break since August 2011. The extension of trading hours will help the Hong Kong market enhance its competitiveness by narrowing the gaps between its trading hours and those of its regional competitors.

(c) HKEx conducted a one-month public consultation in September 2010 on the extension of trading hours. We understand that HKEx's Chief Executive had held discussions with seven trade bodies of the securities industry on the proposal and collected their views, including the trade bodies representing frontline staff, as well as other market practitioners, during the consultation period. A total of 556 submissions were received from a wide spectrum of respondents, including Exchange Participants, brokerage industry associations, listed companies and a related association, professional bodies, a banking industry association, other entities and individuals (including employees of brokerage firms). There was much support for changes to the lunch break, but responses were mixed with advocates for 1-hour lunch break and 1.5 hours lunch break. There was also support for eliminating the lunch break altogether or no change.

After careful consideration of all the responses to its consultation paper and with the view to striving for a balance between the development of the Hong Kong financial market and the demand of some market practitioners, the HKEx Board discussed and decided to shorten the lunch break to 1 hour. In order to facilitate market practitioners to adjust to the revised trading schedule, a phased approach was adopted to change the trading hours. Since March 7, 2011, the lunch break has been shortened from 2 to 1.5 hours, in addition to the earlier opening of the morning continuous trading session by 30 minutes. The lunch break will become 1 hour commencing from March 5, 2012.

142,739 Posts
HKEx News Release
Updated: 01/03/2012
HKEx's Second Phase New Trading Hours to Begin 5 March

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) will implement the second phase of the new trading hours for its securities and derivatives markets1 from 5 March (Monday) this year. The implementation of the second phase of the new trading hours is aimed at aligning the opening of the Hong Kong securities market's afternoon trading session with that of the Mainland market, and further increasing the overall competitiveness of HKEx's markets in the region.

Under the new hours, the continuous trading session of HKEx's securities market will run from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon and then from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The trading hours of HKEx's derivatives markets will also change2.

As a result of the changes, the publication windows for listed issuers to make Listing Rules-related announcements through the HKExnews website3 will also be revised.

HKEx arranged market simulation sessions to assist Exchange Participants and information vendors in verifying their readiness for the second phase of the new trading hours.

Additional information about the second phase of the new trading hours is available in the tables attached below and on the HKEx website.

1. HKEx announced in November 2010 that it will implement the new trading hours in two phases. Please see the HKEx news release dated 23 November 2010.
2. The trading hours of Gold Futures, HIBOR Futures and Three-Year Exchange Funds Note Futures will remain unchanged.
3. Issuers are required to publish their Listing Rules-related announcements on the HKExnews website.
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