Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China/European Business Community

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The founder of this, the premier British mercantile house in the Far East, was Dr. William Jardine, at one time an officer in the service of the Honourable East India Company. Associated with him from its earliest days were Messrs. James Matheson (afterwards Sir James Matheson, Bart., of the Lews) and Hollingworth Magniac.

Dr. Jardine was a southern Scot, whose forbears for many generations had resided in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. Mr. James Matheson hailed from the west coast of Rossshire, where his family had long been established, and owned property. Mr. Magniac was the descendant of a Swiss merchant who had settled at Macao towards the close of the eighteenth century, obtaining employment there from an old-established firm named Beale & Reid, in which concern he became a partner, the firm's name being then changed to Beale & Magniac, and later to Magniac & Co.

In the early days of this business connection, Dr. Jardine made trading voyages between India and China, Mr. James Matheson remaining in India to attend to the disposal of produce brought by his friend, Dr. Jardine, from the Far East, whilst in Macao and Canton Mr. Magniac acted as agent for the sale of goods imported by the doctor from India and the Straits. As time went on the business carried on by these gentlemen increased so considerably that in 1827 Dr. Jardine and Mr. Matheson found it necessary to take up residence permanently in Macao, moving up to Canton in the season, as was the custom in those early days, and there conducting their business through the medium of the "licensed" house of Magniac & Co., in which both became interested.

In 1832, the trading monopoly of the East India Company came to an end, the firm of Magniac & Co. was dissolved, and business thereafter was carried on by the three above-named gentlemen under the style of Jardine, Matheson & Co.

Dr. Jardine left China in 1838, the business initiated by him having by this time assumed vast proportions. His commercial operations were conducted throughout with sagacity and judgment, and he was a man of great strength of character and of unbounded generosity. He was the shipper of the first cargo of "free teas" to London on the expiry of the close monopoly of the East India Company. The "hong" merchants with whom, chiefly, he transacted his business were "Mowqua" and "Conseequa," though old books still in the possession of the firm show that large transactions in tea and silk were put through also with the well-known "hong merchant Howqua." One of the firm's chief constituents in India was Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, who later became the celebrated Parsee Baronet. His business transactions with Jardine, Matheson & Co. were on a colossal scale.

On Dr. Jardine's departure from Canton, the entire foreign community entertained him at a dinner in the dining room of the old East India Company's factory, about eighty persons of all nationalities being present. Dr. Jardine was succeeded in the management of the firm by Mr. James Matheson, who finally left China in 1842. Mr. James Matheson was a gentleman of great suavity of manner and the personification of benevolence. Following Mr. James Matheson came his nephew, Alexander (afterwards Sir Alexander Matheson, Bart., of Ardross), who had received his early business training in India, joining his uncle in Canton in 1835.

(Demolished October, 1907.)

In 1842, having been driven out of Macao owing to the shortsighted policy of the Portuguese authorities, the firm transferred its headquarters to the then almost barren island of Hongkong, where the isolated promontory and hill of East Point were purchased, substantial offices, godowns and dwelling houses erected, and a slipway laid down for the hauling up and repairing of the fleet of schooners and brigs employed by the firm in the coasting trade of that day. The offices erected at that time continued to be used as such by the firm until the year 1864, when a move was made to a more central part of the town, the buildings thereafter being used as junior mess quarters. The dwelling houses erected for the senior and junior partners at East Point, now probably the oldest houses in the Colony, are situated on a hill some 200 feet in height overlooking the harbour, and surrounded by an unusually large compound containing a very fine avenue of trees. Though erected nearly seventy years ago, these houses are still in excellent condition, their wide verandahs, spacious and lofty rooms and passages, and finely dressed stone exterior bearing evidence of the good work performed by the Chinese workmen of 1842.

On the retirement of Mr. Alexander Matheson in 1852, the firm was successively ruled by Messrs. Andrew, David, Joseph, and Robert (afterwards Sir Robert Jardine, Bart., of Castlemilk) Jardine, all nephews of the founder of the house, and all of whom worthily maintained their uncle's reputation for shrewdness and business capacity combined with benevolence, love of sport, and hospitality.

With the advent of steam and telegraphs, the method of conducting business in the Far East underwent radical change, and to a very great extent the "merchant" was displaced by the "commission agent." Those controlling the policy of Jardine, Matheson & Co. were, fortunately, shrewd enough to fall into line with the altered state of affairs before it was too late, and thus escaped the disaster which overtook so many of the grand old China houses.

From its early days, a fundamental principle of the "Muckle Hoos" has been that its senior positions should be filled, and the controlling influence exercised, by the immediate relations and descendants of its founders. So far, there has never been wanting a cadet of either family successfully to guide the destinies of the enterprise so well initiated by these shrewd and able Scots.

With all that concerns the welfare of the Colony of Hongkong those connected with Jardine, Matheson & Co. have ever been closely identified. Streets bear the name of long-departed partners, the City Hall was built mainly owing to the public-spirited generosity of Sir Robert Jardine, while on the Legislative and Executive Councils it has been seldom indeed that the firm's representative has not held a seat.

For the past forty years the active management of the firm's affairs has been in the hands of Mr. William Keswick, M.P., a kinsman of Sir Robert Jardine. Under his management the firm has prospered and extended its branches to every Treaty port in China, to Japan, and to the United States.

In 1905, Sir Robert Jardine died, and for family reasons the firm was then turned into a private Limited Liability Company, the first governing director being the present Baronet, Sir R. W. Buchanan-Jardine, with Messrs. Wm. Keswick, M.P., W. J. Gresson, and Henry Keswick as its managing directors. The following is a list of partners in this firm from its commencement to the present day:—Dr. William Jardine, Sir James Matheson, Bart., Mr. H. Magniac, Sir Alexander Matheson, Bart., Mr. Andrew Johnstone, Mr. H. Wright, Mr. Andrew Jardine, Mr. Wm. Stewart, Mr. A. G. Dallas, Mr. David Jardine, Mr. Joseph Jardine, Mr. A. C. Maclean, Mr. Donald Matheson, Mr. A. Perceval, Sir Robert Jardine, Bart., Mr. J. C. Bowring, Mr. M. A. Macleod, Mr. J. Macandrew, Mr. James Whittall, Mr. Wm. Keswick, Mr. H. St. L. Magniac, Mr. R. A. Houstoun, Mr. E. Whittall, Mr. F. Bulkeley-Johnston, Mr. J. J. Keswick, Mr. Wm. Paterson, Mr. John Bell-Irving, Mr. Herbert Smith, Mr. James J. Bell-Irving, Mr. John Macgregor, Sir Edward Alford, Mr. A. P. MacEwen, Mr. C. W. Dickson, Mr. Robert Inglis, Mr. W. J. Gresson, Mr. Henry Keswick, Mr. David Landale, Mr. W. A. C. Cruickshank, Sir R. W. Huchanan-Jardine, Bart., Mr. James McKie, Mr. C. H. Ross.


The firm of Butterfield & Swire commenced business at Shanghai in 1867, and opened an office at Hongkong in 1870. To-day it has branches at Canton, Swatow, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, Chinkiang, Nanking, Wuhu, Kiukiang, Hankow, Ichang, Chefoo, Tientsin, and Newchwang, and at Kobe and Yokohama in Japan. Messrs. Buttertield & Swire are managers in the East for the China Navigation Company, Ltd., for the Taikoo Sugar Refining Company, Ltd., and for the Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company of Hongkong, Ltd. The China Navigation Company's fleet of over sixty steamers, with its headquarters at Shanghai, is chiefly employed trading on the coast and rivers of China. Regular services are also maintained between Shanghai and Japan, Hongkong and Australia, and Hongkong and the Philippines. The Taikoo Sugar Refining Company's refinery, situated at Hongkong, has capacity for producing a large quantity of refined sugar. The Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Company's works, situated on the island of Hongkong, within half-an-hour's journey of the city of Victoria, are extensive and modern, fully equipped for every description of building and repair work. The dry dock measures 750 feet on the blocks, and there are also three patent slips, each capable of accommodating vessels up to 3,000 tons register. Messrs. Butterfield & Swire are agents in China and Japan for the Ocean Steamship Company, Ltd., and for the China Mutual Steam Navigation Company, Ltd.



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 South China Department, and covers the district of China as far east and north as Foochow, and includes Formosa and the Philippines, Indo-China, and Siam.

In February, 1895, the present general manager, Mr. J. W. Bolles, joined the Hongkong branch as chief assistant to Mr. Wheeler, having previously been manager of one of the Company's interests in Virginia, U.S.A. In June of the same year, Mr. W. B. Walker, the present assistant manager came to the office as an assistant, and from time to time the staff has been augmented by Messrs. D. H. Cameron, now manager at Canton; L. I. Thomas, now manager of the coast port, at Amoy; W. W. Clark, now manager of Indo-China; W. D. Kraft, second assistant manager; F. H. McHugh, chief accountant, and several others from the American offices.


Hongkong has not many departmental stores where the purchaser can go from room to room and find everything that he may require with the minimum amount of trouble and loss of time. But at the establishment of Messrs. Lane, Crawford & Co. anything from a pin to an anchor can be purchased. It was in 1850—only a few years after the British took possession of Hongkong—that Messrs. T. A. Lane & Ninian Crawford started the business. Until 1905 they occupied premises situated on the old Praya, and extending right through to Queen's Road Central. Although large, these premises were found to be inadequate and entirely unsuited to present-day requirements, and, consequently, the present handsome block of buildings was erected for the firm by the Hongkong Land Investment Company, from the designs of Messrs. Leigh & Orange. The main entrance is in Ice House Street, within a short distance of the Kowloon Ferry Wharf and in the centre of the European business quarter. The showrooms occupy three floors and cover an area of 20,000 square feet, the departments embracing ship-chandlery, grocery, outfitting, hardware, furnishing and upholstery, tailoring, millinery, and piano and musical instruments.

In describing their activities in various directions the fact is worthy of note that Lane, Crawford & Co. were the first to supply the shipping of the port with fresh water, and for many years their fleet of sailing water boats was well known to every vessel visiting the harbour. Recently, in order to keep pace with the increased requirements of the port, they have used steam water boats, and this part of the business is now merged in the Union Water Boat Company, Ltd. In the early eighties a severe drought was experienced in the Colony, and the shortage of water caused much suffering among the poorer classes of Chinese. Lane, Crawford & Co. thereupon placed their water boats at the Government's disposal, and for this disinterested service they received public thanks.

The present partners in the business are Messrs. A. H. Skelton, Duncan Clark, and F. C. Wilford. The firm employs a large staff of Europeans, who are accommodated in splendid quarters.

The Manager's Office.The Bottling Department.


The firm of Messrs. Caldbeck, Macgregor & Co., established in 1864, is the largest and best known in the wine and spirit trade in the East. The headquarters are in Rangoon Street, Crutched Friars, London, and there are branches in Glasgow, Shanghai, Hongkong, Singapore, and Tientsin; whilst agencies have been established at Port Arthur, Chefoo, Weihaiwei, Kiaochau, Hankow, Foochow, Taiwan, Canton, Macao, the Philippines, British North Borneo, and Penang. The Hongkong branch, which was opened in 1889, is managed by Mr. C. J. Lafrentz, one of the managing partners of the firm; whilst Mr. Frank Lammert is assistant manager and signs per pro. Messrs. A. G. da Rocha, and C. J. M. Pereira are assistants, and there is a large staff of men engaged in the godowns and in the bottling department, which latter is under the charge of Europeans. An extensive trade is done with the army and navy, with the numerous local clubs and hotels, and with the leading residents of the Colony. Over a hundred and fifty British men-of-war have been supplied by the firm since 1878, and about fifty military messes have dealt with the firm since 1890. Nearly a hundred United States warships also appear on the list of patrons. The firm undertakes contracts on special terms, allowing in full for unconsumed stocks returned in good order. The firm has a special cable code for out-ports,
Sperry Mills in Stockton.Union Mills in Stockton.
General View of Mills.
its telegraphic address being "Caldbeck, Hongkong." The wines and spirits supplied by Messrs. Caldbeck, Macgregor & Co., are all of good quality, but the connoisseur will agree that their V.O.S. whisky merits particular mention. The local office is at No. 15. Queen's Road.


The Sperry Flour Company has been interested in the flour trade of the Colony for upwards of forty years—a period considerably longer than any other similar company—and during the whole of this time it has lost no opportunity of studying the requirements of Eastern buyers, with the object of pushing business throughout the Empire of China. Starting in 1852 with a small mill at Stockton that had a capacity of 100 barrels, the Company—incorporated in 1884, and reincorporated under the laws of California in 1892—now has a larger output than any other flour-milling enterprise on the Pacific coast. There are eleven mills, ten of them situate in California and one in Tacoma, Washington, with a daily capacity of 10,000 barrels, or 40,000 sacks. The Company's chief brands of flour are Sperry's xxx or Green Girl, Pioneer or Mandarin, Anchor, Charm, Day, and Junk.

The president of the Company is Mr. Horace Davis, and the managing directors are Messrs. James Hogg and H. B. Sperry. The headquarters are at No. 133, Spear Street, San Francisco. There are branches at No. 13, Nanking Road, Shanghai, where Mr. J. R. Hargreaves is manager; and at No. 24, Robinson Road, Singapore, where Mr. C. E. Richardson is in charge. The office at No. 7, Redder Street, Hongkong, however, exercises a controlling influence over the whole of the Asiatic business, and here Messrs. W. S. Allen and G. V. Hayes are the resident managers.



Many thousands of tons of flour are consigned to Hongkong each year by the Stockton Milling Company, whose mills are located at Stockton, in the county of San Joaquin, which is in the centre of the valley of that name, reputed to be one of the best wheat-growing districts in California, The total capacity of the mill is 2,000 barrels, or 200 tons, a day, and there is warehouse accommodation for 10,000 tons of flour and 20,000 tons of wheat. The mill, which has a larger capacity than any other in the State, has been continuously operated since March, 1882, under the same management, and the highest standard of efficiency has been maintained throughout by the introduction of the latest type of machinery, to keep pace with modern inventions. The mill is situated on the banks of a tributary of the San Joaquin River, and is in close touch with the port of San Francisco both by water and rail, the cost of transportation thus being nominal. The best known brands of the Company are the Crown, Brown Bear, Crescent, and Orient. The first of these is the finest flour exported from America, and enjoys a high reputation throughout the East. The Company, who formerly were represented in Hongkong by agents, opened an office in Queen's Buildings about seven years ago, to deal with the growing volume of business in the Orient. Their representative in the East is Mr. T. W. Hornby.


It was in 1836 that Messrs. Gibb, Livingston & Co. established themselves in Canton. They extended their operations to Hongkong and Shanghai as soon as these places were opened to trade, and, subsequently, established a branch at Foochow. Their business increased rapidly, and now, as general merchants and agents, their house is amongst the most important and best-known in the Colony. Their many agencies at Shanghai, include the Shanghai Land Investment Company; the China Fire Insurance Company, Ltd.; the North British and Mercantile Fire Insurance Company; the "Allianz" Vers. Aktien Ges. in Berlin; United States Lloyds; Indemnity Mutual Marine Insurance Company, Ltd.; Lloyds London; the London Salvage Association; the Liverpool Salvage Association; the Maritime Insurance Company, Ltd., Liverpool; the Underwriting and Agency Association (composed of underwriting members of Lloyds only); the Eastern and Australian Steamship Company; and the Ben Line of Steamers. In Hongkong they are agents for the British North Borneo Government; the Hongkong Electric Company; the Ben Line of Steamers; the Eastern and Australian Steamship Company, Ltd.; the South African Line of Steamers; the Australian Alliance Association Company (Marine); the Northern Fire and Life Assurance Company; the North Queensland Insurance Company, Ltd.; the Shanghai Land Investment Company, Ltd.; the Shanghai Gas Company, Ltd.; the Shanghai Tug and Lighter Company, Ltd.; and the Weihaiwei Land and Building Company, Ltd. At Foochow their agencies include the Union Insurance Society, of Canton, Ltd.; the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company; the Ben Line of Steamers; the Eastern and Australian Steamship Company; and the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. The firm's offices in Hongkong are situated in York Buildings.


The firm of Bradley & Co. was first established in Swatow, and now has branches in various parts of China. The trade carried on by the Company covers a very wide area, and consists chiefly of coal, shipping, and general imports. There is a branch of the business in Shanghai, and in 1893 offices were opened in Hongkong. This policy of extension has been amply justified by results. The partners in the firm are Messrs. T. W. Richardson (Swatow), R. H. Hill (London), A. Macgowan (Swatow), A. Forbes (Hongkong), and G. A. Richardson (Shanghai). Mr. A. Forbes is the partner in charge of the Hongkong branch.


The firm of Siemssen & Co. is but a few years junior to the Colony itself. The history of the Company dates from 1846, when, according to a circular still preserved in the Hongkong office, Mr. G. T. Siemssen, who up till that time had been connected with Messrs. T. E. Vidal & Co., of Batavia, as manager of their China department, decided to start business in China on his own account. Supported by prominent firms like Messrs. Fredk. Huth & Co., of London, and R. L. Fould & Fould Oppenheim, of Paris, he chartered the good sailing ship Paul for a voyage to Canton, loading her with every class of goods that seemed likely to be saleable in China. He arrived at Canton in 1847, and met with such success that a year later he had completed arrangements for the opening of offices in Canton. On January 1, 1848, Messrs. Siemssen were permanently established in the city. In 1855, only twelve years after the then pirate-infested and barren island of Hongkong had been formally ceded to Great Britain, Messrs. Siemssen extended their operations to the Colony. At this time on the site of the present city of Victoria there was merely a straggling village with but few European business houses, less than half a dozen of which remain at the present day. Siemssen & Co. are thus in the proud position of being the pioneer firm of the many powerful German houses which now conduct operations in the Colony. In 1865, the headquarters of the house were transferred to Hamburg, where Mr. G. T. Siemssen
Handling Matting.The Old Premises on Water Front.
G. T. Siemssen
(Founder).Waldemar Nissen (Founder).
The Offices.The Kowloon Godowns.
retained the management until his death in November, 1886. In the meantime Mr. Woldemar Nissen had joined the firm (1855) and various branches had been established in China under the control of other partners, whom Mr. Siemssen had taken into the business. Mr. Nissen became senior partner after Mr. Siemssen's death, and superintended the affairs of the Company at the head office until he also passed away in 1896. Mr. Albert Gueltzow who was admitted to partnership in 1864, next became head of the firm and is at present directing operations from Hamburg. The senior partner in the East is Mr. N. A. Siebs, who joined the house as a shipping clerk in 1865 and became a partner in 1881. To the energy of these gentlemen Hongkong owes the existence of one of its leading houses.

As the firm's business expanded fresh fields were exploited from time to time and new partners were taken into the house. The year 1886 saw Mr. Arnold Fuchs, who was admitted to partnership in 1899, first become connected with the Company. In 1907, when Mr. Siebs was absent on leave, the Hongkong branch was under the control of Mr. Fuchs, while Mr. Charles Brodersen, who entered the firm in 1883. and became a partner in 1899. and Mr. Otto Struckmeyer, who joined in 1889 and was made a partner in 1903, were managing the Shanghai branch with control over the northern offices. The Company have fine premises at No. 2, Praya Central, Hongkong, and branches at Canton, Shanghai, Hankow, Tientsin, and Tsingtau, with agencies in London, Lyons, and New York. They are well known as bankers, general merchants, importers and exporters, shipping and insurance agents, engineers and contractors for the complete equipment of railways and factories, &c., and the name of "Seem-Sun" is familiar to probably every Chinese merchant of any importance doing business with foreigners in North and South China. The members of the firm have been prominently connected with numerous commercial enterprises for the development of the Colony and the East generally, and the resident senior partner in Hongkong holds a seat on the board of directors of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation; the Hongkong and Whampoa Dock Company; the Hongkong Land Investment and Agency Company; the Hongkong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company; the China Fire Insurance Company; the Hongkong, Canton and Macao Steamboat Company, &c.



The boycott of American flour by the Chinese in 1905–6 gave a big fillip to the trade in Australian flour, and prominent amongst the firms to benefit by this were Messrs. Barretto & Co., whose business was established, in 1895, by Messrs. A. A. H. Botelho and F. D. Barretto. The headquarters are in Queen's Buildings, and as merchants, commission and shipping agents, and wholesale importers and exporters their operations cover an extensive field and are increasing year by year. Probably more flour from the Australian Commonwealth has passed through their hands latterly than through those of any other firm in the Colony. They are well represented all over the world, and are the agents in South China and Hongkong for the Compagnie Française des Indes et de l'Extreme-Orient; Compañia Trasatlantica Royal Spanish Mail Line (passengers' department); the Gresham Life Assurance Company; Lloyd Platino (Fire and Marine); Victoria General Insurance Company; La Nacional (Marine Insurance); and the Wine Growers' Supply Company. They have recently started the Imperial Brewing Company, Ltd., in the Colony, and have succeeded in placing the French service of night steamers to Canton on a paying basis.


Messrs. Dodwell & Co., Ltd., were established in Hongkong on January 1, 1899, the firm, until that date, being known as Dodwell, Carlill & Co. They are general merchants, importers, exporters, and general and shipping agents, and undertake commission business of every description. Their headquarters are in London, and they have branches also at Shanghai, Hankow, and Foochow in China; Yokohama and Kobe, in Japan; Colombo, Ceylon; San Francisco, Tacoma, and Seattle, U.S.A.; and Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. The directors are Messrs. George B. Dodwell, chairman, A. J. H. Carlill, T. M. Dermer, F. D'Iffanger, F. Dodwell, H. A. J. Macray, G. H. Medhurst, G. J. Melhuish, G. S. Thomson, and E. S. Whealler. Mr. G. H. Medhurst, who is a member of the committee of the Chamber of Commerce, is the manager, and Mr. E. G. Barrett, sub-manager, of the Hongkong branch.


In the early days, before the establishment of Hongkong as a British Colony, Whampoa was the farthest point to which the Chinese permitted foreign ships to proceed up the West River. Many difficulties were experienced at this port by vessels in obtaining stores, and it was this fact which led to the establishment of the firm of F. Blackhead & Co. by Mr. B. Schwarzkopf. Purchasing a dismantled Chinese junk of suitable proportions, Mr. Schwarzkopf commenced business on the waters of the harbour in 1855. There was a good opening for the new venture, but many restrictions were placed upon foreign traders by Chinese officials, and there was little guarantee of protection against the pirates who infested the Chinese waters. In spite of all obstacles, however, Mr, Schwarzkopf built up a thriving trade. But when the troubles at Canton culminated in war between England and China the business was removed to Hongkong, and here it has remained, progressing with the Colony year after year. At about the time when the headquarters were removed from Whampoa to Hongkong a branch was established in the Portuguese city of Macao, where there was great activity in shipping circles on account of the coolie trade. This branch, however, was not destined to meet with overmuch success, for in 1874 the many abuses of the coolie traffic had become so glaring that the traffic was abolished, and the firm, by withdrawing, anticipated the steady decline in Macao's importance as a shipping port.

During Mr. B. Schwarzkopf's life Messrs. Smith, Schoenemann, Hoehnke, and F. Schwarzkopf were admitted as partners, and the business was conducted by them until 1903, when Mr. Smith and, later on, Mr. Schoenemann left for Europe. They did not, however, live long after their return to the homeland. The firm's offices are now in that magnificent pile on the water front known as St. George's Buildings. Here they stock everything that comes under the heading of ship's stores, for they are contractors to the German, Austrian, and Russian Navies. They are also interested in the coal trade of the Colony. Some years ago they acquired a large parcel of land, known as Blackhead's Point, at Kowloon, having an extensive deep-water frontage, and here they built godowns and a pier constructed on Differdingen piles capable of accommodating quite large vessels. For many years a conspicuous feature of the
3. Mr. James Guy.1. Dr. A. S. Gomes.4. Mr. W. S. Bailey.
2. The Late Mr. Chew D. Musse.5. Mr. J. R. Michael.

7. Mr. J. W. Graham,
Acting Manager, Hongkong and
Whampoa Dock Co., Ltd.
8. Mr. A. R. Lowe,
Chamber of Commerce.
9. Mr. F. Lammert,
Victoria Recreation Club.

6. Mr. L. M. Alvares.10. Mr. Thomas Neave.
11. Mr. G. H. Medhurst,
Manager, Dodwell & Co.
12. Mr. R. Shewan.13. Mr. A. A. H. Botelho.
14. Mr. E. M. Hazeland.18. The late Mr. Danby.
15. Mr. A. Forbs.16. Mr. Gray Scott.17. Mr. F. D. Barretto.
19. Mr. A. F. Weiss.22. Mr. H. Wicking.

20. Mr. A. Hickie,
"China Express," Hongkong.
21. Mr. F. Jorge,
President, Lusitano Club.
shipping in the harbour has been Messrs. Blackhead's large hulk, bearing an advertisement of the famous "Red Hand Brand" of composition for the bottoms of iron ships, for which the firm has the sole agency in the Colony. The only European sail-making business in Hongkong, also, is conducted by Messrs. Blackhead & Co. Even this does not exhaust the list of their industries, for at Shaukiwan they have established a large soap and soda factory, details of which are given in the section of this work devoted to industries.
[See page 218.]MESSRS. F. BLACKHEAD & CO.
The Office.The Hulk "Jay,"
with sail-making department.

The present partners in the firm are Messrs. F. Schwarzkopf, son of the founder, and F. Hoehnke. They have branches at Neishiem, Tsingtau, and Tsinanfu, where the business is carried on under the style of F. Schwarzkopf & Co.


It was in 1868 that Mr. Kruse, a shrewd man of business, laid the foundation of the extensive import trade in tobacco, cigars, and fancy goods now carried on under the style of Kruse & Co. by Messrs. C. W. Longuet and J. Meier. Mr. Kruse died in 1874, and many changes of partnership followed, but the business has prospered, and to-day the firm is the leading house of its kind in the Colony, with a carefully guarded reputation for supplying only the best class of goods. Messrs. Kruse & Co. are agents for Messrs. Valfiadis & Co.'s and Messrs. A. G. Cousis & Co.'s Egyptian cigarettes; they are the sole importers of the "Imperia del Mundo" Manila cigars; they import the special brand known as "El Oriente" direct from the factory; and they are the only firm shipping cigars direct from Havana in wholesale quantities to Hongkong. They deal both with the Tobacco Trust and with independent companies, and are thus able to meet the requirements of all customers. Smokers' requisites of every kind are stocked in abundance. The house has taken the lead in other directions, too, for it is the only one importing continental fancy goods, including china, table and wall ornaments, fancy baskets, glass vases, and ware of special design, &c. Other lines comprise electro-plate, toys, picture postcards (which latter the firm were the first to introduce into the Colony), and the well-known "Divinice" brand of perfume, distilled by Messrs. Wolff & Sohn. The firm also deal largely in incandescent gas fittings, and were the first local agents for the "Welsbach" burners now in general use. This does not by any means exhaust the list of agencies held by the firm—for they represent the "Columbia" Cycle Company, the German newspaper, Oslasiatische Lloyd, and numerous smaller interests—but enough has been said to show the extent and diversity of the trade carried on by them. The proprietors visit Europe in turn, one buying goods in Hamburg whilst the other is supervising the business in Hongkong.


The firm of A. S. Watson & Co., Ltd., chemists, druggists, aerated water manufacturers, &c., is one of the largest business concerns in the Far East, consisting, as it does, of thirteen European shops and upwards of forty Chinese branches, giving employment to fifty Europeans and five hundred Chinese. Its origin dates back to the cession of Hongkong to the British, when a naval surgeon opened what became known as the Hongkong Dispensary for the use, principally, of sailors and soldiers. In the fifties, new premises were opened in Queen's Road, the concern having by that time passed into the hands of Mr. A. S. Watson. The business—still only that of a chemist and druggist—was sold in 1870 to a Mr. Bell, who, in turn, made it over to Mr. Hunt and Mr. John D. Humphreys. The latter gentleman afterwards became the sole proprietor, and in 1876 the first step was taken in the direction of expansion by the establishment of a small aerated water factory. Branches were opened in various districts, and the Chinese name of the firm, the Tai-yeuk-fong, became known all over China. In 1886 the concern was floated as a limited liability company, with a capital of nearly four lakhs of dollars. Mr. John D. Humphreys ceased to be general manager in 1896, and his firm of John D. Humphreys & Son became general managers. The capital was raised to $600,000 in 1890, and was further increased in 1904 to $900,000. The present partners in John D. Humphreys & Son are Messrs. Henry Humphreys, J. A. Jupp, and E. E. Humphreys.

The chief offices and premises of the firm are in Alexandra Buildings, one of the largest and most imposing blocks in the Colony, built upon the most approved modern lines. In the immediate vicinity are the Company's warehouses and soda water factory.


This firm of general drapers, furnishers, dressmakers, and milliners, was founded in 1884 by Mr. William Powell, who started in business for himself after having been for some years in the employment of the firm of Sayle & Co. It was converted into a limited liability company in 1901, with a capital of $120,000, which was increased in 1905, to $150,000, when the business was greatly extended. The firm undertake the supply of everything for ladies', children's, and gentlemen's wear, and of house, ship, and hotel furnishing. At their furniture workshop at Wanchai a large staff of workmen is employed under the supervision of experienced London cabinet-makers. The principal establishment of the firm is situated in Alexandra Buildings. There is also a special outfitting department for gentlemen in Queen's Road Central.


Messrs. Wendt & Co.'s commercial connection with Canton dates back to the early days of business with the Kwangtung Province. Their headquarters were formerly in that city, and although the proprietors finding of late years that Hongkong is the more convenient place for conducting their trade, have carried on business at No. 6, Ice House Street, the firm's name of Hing-sing is still one of the best known among the European hongs on the Shameen. Goods are imported from Europe, America, and Australia, and an important export trade is done in Chinese commodities. In Canton the firm are agents for the Austrian Lloyd Steamship Company, several local steamship lines, the Netherlands Lloyd Insurance Company, &c. The head of the business is Mr. F. A. Wendt.


Lieut. Waghorn, a statue to whom has been erected at his birthplace, Chatham, and whose bust has stood for many years at the entrance to the Suez Canal, may be considered as the pioneer of the overland route to the East. Always of an adventurous disposition, the turning point in his career was reached when he visited Calcutta in 1827, and convinced the authorities, after much difficulty, that there was a better way to and from England than by the Cape route. He established a regular service of caravans across Egypt, built eight halting-places in the desert between Cairo and Suez, converted a dangerous path, beset with robbers, into secure highway, and from 1827 to 1833 carried the overland mail. Associated with him was Mr. Geo. W. Wheatley, and the firm of Wheatley & Co. were the first to develop to any great extent, the parcel-carrying business. Since those days the trade has grown by leaps and bounds. In Hongkong Messrs. McEwen, Frickel & Co. were largely concerned in it. Indeed, this particular department grew almost too unwieldy to be managed successfully in conjunction with their other interests, and in July, 1907, Mr. S. D. Hickie, who had been in charge of the business for several years, purchased it outright; now there is probably no Hongkong firm better known abroad than the "China Express Company." They have connections with every civilised part of the globe, and there is certainly no question as to the efficiency of their organisation. They have about eight hundred agencies in the principal ports and cities of the world, each with sub-agencies for the distribution and reception of goods. Mr. Hickie also carries on a general export and import business, and offers particular facilities to small importers. The headquarters of the China Express Company are at No. 3, Duddell Street.



During the ten years of its existence the China Mutual Life Insurance Company, Ltd., has made wonderful progress, and to-day ranks amongst companies of longer standing and greater pretensions. It is incorporated under the Companies Ordinances of the Hongkong Government, and at the close of the financial year, March 31, 1907, its accounts showed insurance in force amounting to $31,655,517, assets $4,989,042, income $2,339,341, reserve $4,296,721, surplus $526,575, and total security to policy holders $5,508,228. The moneys of the Company are carefully invested, and not less than 90 per cent. of the surplus must be distributed as dividends among the policy holders. Policies are issued in most of the usual forms—children's endowment, limited payment life, ordinary life, and endowment, all with profits—and they are unconditional and incontestable from the date of issue. The head offices are in Shanghai. The Hongkong office is situated in the Alexandra Buildings, Mr. Lefferts Knox being the district manager.


This is the oldest established auctioneering firm in the Colony. It was founded by Mr. Geo. R. Lammert, the father of the present partners, and, for upwards of forty years residents in Hongkong have been accustomed to go to Lammert's sale rooms for bargains of all descriptions, A special feature is made of selling goods to the Chinese, and the firm are open at all limes to receive goods on consignment for which prompt settlements are made. The firm act as brokers, surveyors, marine appraisers, and appraisers of goods damaged either by fire or water. They conduct their auctions in Chinese whenever there is a purely Chinese audience present. The senior partner is Mr. Geo. P. Lammert, who is at present in Shanghai. He is a captain in the volunteer force and is one of the best-known vocalists in the Colony. During his absence the business in Hongkong is managed by Mr. H. A. Lammert, who personally conducts all the sales. He is assisted by his brother, Mr. L. E. Lammert. In the early days the firm occupied premises upon the site upon which Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co. are erecting their new hong. Now, however, their auction rooms are at No. 4, Duddell Street, an excellent situation in the centre of the town and less than five minutes' walk from the leading business houses. The firm are agents for Milner's safes and several London firms; their telegraphic address is "Lammert, Hongkong."


Twenty years ago the thriving firm of Messrs. Soares & Co., was founded by Mr. A. F. J. Soares, who, devoting his energies at the start to the real estate business, soon afterwards saw the possibilities of assisting in the development of the China trade. So successful were his efforts that the firm now does a very extensive business in rice, besides being a large exporter of general Chinese products to Europe, Africa, and all parts of North and South America. Mr. Soares, who recently retired from active participation in the affairs of the firm, owns valuable blocks of land in the island and in the neighbouring peninsula of Kowloon. In addition to its own business, which is now conducted by Mr. A. M. L. Soares, the only son of the founder, the firm represents the interests of several Macao capitalists.

H. A. LAMMERT.[See page 221.]


This firm was founded some four years ago by Mr. A. M. da Cruz and Mr. J. M. F. Basto, who were joined later by Mr. A. D. Barretto. All three partners were men of experience in the Colony, and they were not long in working up an extensive connection as importers and exporters and especially as flour merchants. At the present time they are one of the largest importers in the Colony of Australian flour, which has become an important item in the local market during the past few years. Australian butter and dairy products are imported, the firm being in touch with some of the leading distributing houses in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The firm deal also in American flour and general merchandise. A branch of the business is situated at Canton, where Chinese silks are bought direct from the weavers, together with matting and other products of South China. Messrs. Cruz, Basto & Co., are one of the leading dealers in the camphor trade of the Colony, bringing the produce from the Fokien Province, and disposing of large quantities locally, besides shipping it in bulk to India. The head offices are in Prince's Buildings, Hongkong.


Messrs. V. P. Musso & Co. have a large connection, both locally and in Europe, as general agents, importers, and exporters. For many years they held a contract for supplies to the Italian Navy in the Far East. The firm was established twenty-five years ago by Mr. D. Musso, an Italian gentleman, who for many years, right up to the time of his death, was one of the well-known merchants of the Colony, and held a prominent position in the local community as Consul-General for Italy. A handsome monument to his memory has been erected in the Catholic Cemetery at Happy Valley. For a time his widow carried on the business, but latterly his three sons, Messrs. V. P., L. A. and F. P. Musso have entered into it as partners. They are popular in commercial circles and are well known in the field of sport. The business manager of the firm in Hongkong is Mr. L. Borello.


A popular delicacy at home is the preserved ginger imported largely from China. The Hing Loong ginger factory in Canton is noted for producing some of the finest qualities, the export of which is controlled by Messrs. L. M. Alvares & Co., of No. 8a, Des Voeux Road, Hongkong. The ginger is prepared by a secret process suggested by Mr. Alvares. Another important business in which Messrs. Alvares & Co. are engaged is the export of feathers, which are purchased in China and cleaned in the firm's own factory at Kowloon—the only establishment of its kind in the Colony—equipped with the latest machinery, and housed in a building specially designed to meet the exacting requirements of the Sanitary Board. The firm do a considerable and important business with Europe and America, and have an excellent reputation as experts in the selection of Chinese produce. The business was established in 1896 by Mr. L. M. Alvares, the present managing partner, who was educated at St. Joseph's College, Hongkong. In 1903 he took Mr. J. M. Alves into partnership.


Messrs. Jorge & Co., of No. 5, Zetland Street, carry on the business of general merchants, importers, and exporters. They deal largely in China produce, and make a speciality of ginseng, in the selection of which Mr. F. J. V. Jorge, the proprietor and founder, is an acknowledged expert. As a tribute to Mr. Jorge's ability in this direction it may be mentioned that the firm is the only foreign house in the ginseng trade in the Colony. The import business is largely in piece goods, which are disposed of amongst the Chinese. The firm has extensive trading relationships with leading houses throughout Europe and America, and important connections with the Philippines and Formosa. Mr. Jorge was for many years connected with the old firm of Messrs. Russell & Co., and when that house was discontinued he assisted in the promotion of the present large business of Messrs. Shewan, Tomes & Co. Seven years ago he established himself as head of Messrs. Jorge & Co., and has been chiefly responsible for the firm's prosperity. He is president of the Club Lusitano, the only Portuguese club in the Colony, and was instrumental in pulling that institution through its recent difficulties and placing it once more on a sound basis.


The extensive business carried on by the well-known firm of Messrs. Rozario & Co. was established in 1857 by Mr. M. C. do Rozario. It passed into the hands of his son, and later devolved upon Mr. Joăo Joaquim Leiria, the present head of the firm. Messrs. Rozario & Co. are great exporters of valuable commodities to San Francisco and Honolulu. Mr. Leiria, who is also the Portuguese Vice-Consul for the Colony, may be found at No. 47, Wyndham Street, Hongkong.

(Founder of the Firm).
(Senior Partner of the Far Eastern branches).


Mr. A. J. David, senior partner of the Far Eastern branches of that influential firm of Bombay merchants known as Messrs. S. J. David & Co., is a brother of Sir Sassoon J. David, the founder, one of India's best known merchant princes. Sir Sassoon was a pioneer of the mill industry in Bombay, where he now holds the office of chairman of the Mill Owners' Association, and where his vast experience has led to his election to the Municipal Corporation, the Standing Committee, the Port Trust, the Improvement Trust, and other public bodies, and lastly to his elevation to the Shrievalty. Mr. A. J. David was born on March 31, 1854, and was educated at Elphinstone College, Bombay. He was the first member of the Jewish faith to pass the Matriculation Examination in India and to obtain the David Sassoon Hebrew Scholarship. He has travelled extensively over a great part of Europe, and also in America and Japan. He came to China in 1878, and has been largely responsible for the remarkable success achieved by the firm in this part of the world. He married Katie, daughter of Mr. S. E. Shellim, and niece of Sir Albert Sassoon, Bart. He lives at No. 2, Mount Gough, the Peak, and is a member of the Hongkong Club. The firm, which has offices in Prince's Buildings, carries on business in Indian yarns and opium, and is probably the largest importer of yarn in the Colony, the product coming from its own and other mills in Bombay. The Hongkong branch holds the local agency for the South British Insurance Company. Other branches are established at Shanghai and Kobe.



Perhaps by contrast with cities more essentially tropical, where appearance comes second to comfort, Hongkong will strike the visitor as a "dressy" place, and, if he be in need of a smart outfit, he will naturally look round for a high-class tailoring establishment. Such a one is that of Messrs. Diss Brothers in Wyndham Street. The partners are Messrs. G. A. and A. C. Diss, who both received their training in the West End, and have since been connected with leading houses in Colombo and Singapore. They are members of a family of five brothers, all of whom, following in the footsteps of their father, are engaged in the tailoring trade. Together, they have had an Eastern experience aggregating half a century. Messrs. Diss Brothers opened business in Hongkong eight years ago, and, by reason of their skill and experience, they have gained an enviable reputation for good and careful workmanship. They are the only exclusively tailoring firm in the Colony, and, while executing orders for all kinds of work for gentlemen, they specialise in riding-breeches and the popular Jodhpore styles. Their customers have the satisfaction of knowing that, by frequent visits to England, the firm keep in close touch with the fashions at home and on the continent. They work, also, in conjunction with one of their brothers, who carries on business in Conduit Street, W. He buys for them, and it often happens that when their customers retire from the Colony or go home on leave they transfer their orders to him, the name itself being a sufficient guarantee that they will be well served. At Wyndham Street the brothers keep a large assortment of cloths calculated to satisfy the most discriminating and fastidious, and if their client hesitates in his choice, they are able and willing to offer him sound advice which he is not likely to regret following.


The firm of Kelly & Walsh, Ltd., publishers, printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and stationers, has been established for over thirty years, and has branches in Hongkong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Yokohama. The Hongkong branch was formerly situated in Queen's Road Central, whence it was removed a few years ago to the present handsome premises in York Building, Chater Road.

The local printing office is situated in Duddell Street, and is thoroughly well equipped. Messrs. Kelly & Walsh carry a very large stock of books, and make a feature of those dealing with the Far East.