Heading the field will be Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez who led the tour with four victories in 2004 and finished second at an off-season event last week in Korea. With his start this week in Hong Kong, it will mark Jimenez' 18th year on the tour.
He'll be joined by defending champion Padraig Harrington and up-and-comers Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty, as well as stalwarts Nick Faldo and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Harrington, who also played in the Korean event and finished in a tie for 11th, returns to the course where he staged a dramatic comeback to win his seventh career European Tour title. His birdies on the 17th and 18th holes on Sunday gave him a one stroke victory of Hennie Otto and four shots clear of Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Fredrik Jacobson.
Poulter, who has won at least one tournament in each of the last five seasons, begins his quest to extend that remarkable streak of consistency. Known perhaps more for his wild hairstyles and outgoing personality, the 28-year-old Englishman has racked up six European titles and has finished inside the top-10 on the tour's Order of Merit list each of the last two seasons.
Played at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the event marks its 46th year in existence, although just the last four have been part of the European Tour schedule. Along with winning last year, Harrington joined a list of past winners that include Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer and Olazabal.
A purse of $800,000 is on the table with $127,000 going to the winner.
Next week the tour travels west into South Africa for the third tournament of the young season and its last of the 2004 calendar year. The Dunhill Championship, played at the Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga, will welcome world No. 3 Ernie Els as well as defending champion Marcel Siem.