Page:Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China.djvu/221

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In not a few departments of human activity it is possible to point to the past and say, "They were giants in those days," but the men of stature in the mercantile world are with us now, and for the reason that the ever extending ramifications of commerce have called them into existence. The firm of Messrs. Shewan, Tomes & Co., of Hongkong, Canton, Shanghai, Tientsin, Kobe, London, and New York, with its agencies, in Amoy, Foochow, Formosa, Hankow, Manila, and the Straits Settlements is an example of the widespread character of the business in which a modern house may find itself engaged. Messrs. Shewan, Tomes & Co., are general managers of the China and Manila Steamship Company, Ltd., the American Asiatic Steamship Company, the Green Island Cement Company, Ltd., the Hongkong Rope Manufacturing Company, Ltd., the China Provident Loan and Mortgage Company, Ltd., the China Light and Power Company, Ltd., the Equitable Life Assurance Society, of the U.S.A., and the Canton Land Company, Ltd.; whilst they are agents for the "Shire" Line of Steamers, Ltd., the Yangtsze Insurance Association, Ltd., the Insurance Company of North America, the Batavia Sea and Fire, North British and Mercantile, Reliance Marine, Union Marine, World Marine, Law Union and Crown, Yorkshire Fire and Life, Fireman's Fund, and Federal Insurance Companies, the Electric Traction Company of Hongkong, Ltd., the Chinese Engineering and Mining Company, Ltd., the Shanghai Pulp and Paper Company, Ltd., and the Tacoma Grain Company. All these divergent interests are controlled from the head office in Hongkong, an imposing structure known as St. George's Buildings, with a magnificent frontage overlooking the harbour. The firm deals with the bulk of the articles exported from Canton, through Hongkong—raw silk, silk piece goods, tea, matting, fire-crackers, palm-leaf fans, cassia, cassia buds, cassia oil, rhubarb, aniseed, ginseng, rattan, and preserves. This department is managed by Mr. A. A. Cordeiro. Imports for the trade include cottons, woollens, shirtings, and white goods, flannelettes, drills, handkerchiefs, all kinds of builders' hardware, Belgian window-glass, glass-ware of every description, bar and rod iron, nail rod iron, wire nails, yellow metal, bamboo steel, Swedish rolled-steel, hoop iron, paper in pulp and sheets, lubricating oils, flour, hemp, raw sugar, Australian and Japanese coal, wines and spirits of every kind—in short, almost everything that can be deemed necessary to meet ordinary demands. In addition to the large quantities of goods imported upon commissions, chiefly placed by Chinese houses, the firm carries a heavy stock in readiness to meet all inquiries. The import department is divided into separate branches, working respectively under Messrs. S. Moore, J. Coulthart. and P. Kunge. The Green Island Cement Company, for which the firm are the general managers, is the subject of another article in this volume, and it will here suffice to mention that the quality of the cement produced at the factory is not to be surpassed. Mr. R. Henderson has general charge of this department, while the interests of the Rope Manufacturing and the China Light and Power Companies are attended to by Mr. L. L. Campbell. The former has been established for upwards of twenty years, and the factory turns out millions of pounds of rope annually, the market for the output embracing Japan, the Straits Settlements, India, and Australia. The China and Manila Steamship Company, Ltd., which is operated by the firm, has two first-class boats on the Manila run. The shipping department is managed by Mr. George Moffatt, whilst the large loan and storage business of the Provident Loan and Mortgage Company is conducted by Mr. J. A. Young. Enough has been said to show how gigantic are the undertakings of Messrs. Shewan, Tomes & Co.



The extent of the highly remunerative business carried on by the Standard Oil Company, of which Mr. J. D. Rockefeller, the great American millionaire is the head, forms the subject of comment in many parts of the world. A branch of the undertaking was opened in Hongkong in August, 1894, by Mr. George Henry Wheeler, who had formerly been a partner in the firm of Russel & Co., at Shanghai. Since 1898, in spite of considerable competition from the Asiatic Petroleum Company, and the Maatschappij tot Mijnbosch-en Landbouwexploitatie in Langkat, their trade has increased several hundred per cent. Since 1903 the Company have extended their operations very considerably, and are now erecting large plants at Foochow, Amoy, Swatow, Canton, Haippong, Saigon, Tourane. Bangkok, Manila, and Hongkong (Lai Chi Kok) which control numerous small stations. The Hongkong branch is now known as the