Amoy Canning – a brief history since 1908

“C” says: The Chinese name of the company has always been 淘化大同, not 淘化大隆. Nowadays it is often abbreviated as 淘大.

Hugh Farmer: The origins of this well known Hong Kong company are somewhat confusing, at least for someone unable to read Chinese, in that they involve a variety of English translations and merges between these companies.

I have tried to piece together a rough timeline but would welcome corrections, confirmation ot additional information especially regarding the period from 1908 to 1928 when the company appears to have set up in Hong Kong. In particular the Chinese characters for each of the names of the various concerns would be very useful.

In 1908, Tao Fa,  the predecessor of Amoy Canning, was founded in Xiamen, Fujian, China to produce soy sauce,soy milk and dairy products, registering with the Qing Governenmet. Amoy (廈門) is the old English romanisation of Xiamen.

amoy01

Soon after the company bought a nearby dairy farm and started to export to the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore as well as selling in the domestic market.

1911 Tao Fa participatedin the International Exhibition in Berlin, Germany and was awarded an Outstanding Certificate.

1913 the company hired an American named Kroch to go to Xiamen to set up a canning factory. Around this time the company expanded and set up a number of factories in China.

1913 A manager of Tao Fa resigned and set up a similar business, Dai Tung.

1927 Tao Fa and Dai Tung were merged, and called ‘Tao Fa Dai Tung’ 淘化大隆?) by taking two Chinese characters from each company name. ‘Tao Dai’ was used as the trademark and also the anglicized  name ‘Amoy’.

1928 Amoy was set up in Hong Kong.

1933 Amoy had a factory in Ngau Tau Kok to manufacture soy sauce and canned foods.

1933 A sales office was opened in Bonham Strand. The business expanded to South Pacific islands, the USA and European countries.

1938 Amoy Canning Corporation (Hong Kong) Ltd ‘was registered in Hong Kong and its head office  moved there.

In a 1947 advertisement the company was named as Amoy Canning Corporation Ltd. (香港淘化大同公司) with a factory in Ngau Tau Kok. The head office was in Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan

amoy02

1950s Lawrence Tsui in a comment added to Dan Waters article HK’s Preserved Ginger “One of the best known well-established soy sauce companies is Amoy Canning otherwise known as To Fa Tai Loong 淘化大隆. It was operated by Wong Tuk-sau 王篤修 in the 50s. The company also produced the local soft drink – Green Spot 綠寶 orange drink, which is no longer marketed.”

A 1953 advert courtesy of IDJ:

Amoy Canning Corp Hong Kong Ltd-manufacturer-advert-1953

1970s The former factory in  Ngau Tau Kok was sold and has since been turned into an apartment complex called the Amoy Gardens.

1983 50% of the company was acquired by Pillsbury

1987 A manufacturing plant was set up in Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong

Amoy plant Tai Po Industrial Estate Hong Kong

Amoy plant
Tai Po Industrial Estate
Hong Kong

1988 The company was reported to be the largest soy sauce maker in “the area” producing 6,000 tonnes a year.

1991 Amoy became wholly owned by the French dairy products company Danone.

2006 Danone sold the company to Ajinomoto of Japan.

This article was first posted on 9th July 2015.

See:

Related Indhhk Articles:

  1. Amoy Canning – connection to WW2 POWs and a particular Englishman?
  2. Amoy Canning – Amoycan Industrial Centre – Kowloon Bay – connection to Amoy Canning?
  3. Amoy Canning locations – Ngau Tau Kok Road, Amoy Gardens, Ngau Chi Wan – clarification needed?

 

3 Comments

  • Mike T.

    I had no idea Green Spot was related to Amoy, very interesting! Like many kids at the time, Green Spot was my favorite soft drink in the late 70s and early 80s.

    Wikipedia suggests it may still be sold bottled outside of Hong Kong, and in tetra pak boxes inside HK.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Spot_(soft_drink)

  • Hugh Farmer

    Mike

    There’s some confusion here because seeing your comment reminded me that in Linda Kernan’s article, The Vitasoy Story, is this:

    “…by 1949 the company had accumulated enough capital to buy a piece of land in Aberdeen and started to build a new plant. However, before it was finished HKSBP had acquired the franchise for Greenspot, a large California-based manufacturer of orange concentrate. When the Aberdeen factory opened in 1950 it was used for bottling of Greenspot orangeade while Vitasoy remained in the Causeway Bay factory.”

    HKSBP was the Hong Kong Soya Bean Products Company formed in 1939, which started operations in March 1940 and which became Vitasoy.

  • C

    The Chinese name of the company has always been 淘化大同, not 淘化大隆. Nowadays it is often abbreviated as 淘大.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *