Tigers have not been sighted for more than 50 years near Hong Kong, nor anywhere else in South China for some 20 years. But this year, their influence will be felt everywhere.
The Year of the Tiger will bear all the characteristics of this majestic animal: playful, fierce and unpredictable. Most economists warn that the year will have its ups and downs, while fung shui masters say the volatile and reckless Tiger can bring us times of ecstatic highs and miserable lows.
The Tiger has a character of extremes, with many excellent traits as well as serious shortcomings. In Asia the tiger is the king of animals, often shown in comic books with the Chinese character wang - king - on its forehead. What can we learn from this imposing animal to make the year more successful?
The Tiger is a born leader. Not everyone is a born leader, but leadership can be learned and the sooner we start, the better we can take advantage of life's opportunities.
'Leadership means to be willing to take up the challenges and not to retreat when you see danger,' says Alison Chang, managing director of the recruitment firm Coresearch, who was born in a Year of the Tiger.
A good way to develop leadership potential is to participate in speech contests and debating, and join social or voluntary organisations, she says. 'You will learn how to make decisions, take up challenges, accept that you can make mistakes and learn from them.
'School activities will show you how good you are in a team, and develop leadership traits.'
Tigers are optimists - they believe in themselves and that things will turn out to their advantage. Hard work and strong belief in success is a great way to overcome difficulties. Should the Tiger miss the mark, its optimism will soon overcome the disappointment.
'You have to believe in your abilities, even if you can't do something immediately. It doesn't stop me from trying: every time I fail [I learn something and] get closer to my target,' Chang says.
Affectionate and generous, Tigers make friends easily. Their friends support them when they face problems and are unhappy. 'We can only be happy because we can share our sorrow and happiness with family and friends,' she says.
'That makes life meaningful. So open your heart and your mind, reach out to make friends. Don't be defensive.'
Tigers are not materialistic. They are independent thinkers and choose what they like and want to do over what brings in money. At a young age, when they don't have to worry about supporting a family, this trait can lead them to adventures and enrich their souls with experiences. Such experiences help us discover our real interests.
With their overwhelming energy, enthusiasm, hard work and efficiency, Tigers can buckle down and get the job done. They don't give up easily and are not afraid of facing challenges.
In this respect, they will be the best model to follow in the coming year - and beyond.