Chun Hing Bakery, Biscuit & Confectionery Manufactory

York Lo: Chun Hing Bakery, Biscuit & Confectionery Manufactory 

Chun Hing Bakery Factory In Shaukiwan

Chun Hing factory in Shakiwan (Source: 大石鼓 Facebook page)

Founded in 1926, Chun Hing Bakery, Biscuit & Confectionery Manufactory (振興糖果餅乾公司, the Chinese name reflects the reverse order – confectionery, biscuit and bakery) was one of the leading biscuit & confectionery firms in Hong Kong alongside Garden, Yan Chim Kee, On Lok Yuen and M.P. San.

The firm’s founder Ho Chi-Wong (何智煌, 1900-1983) was a native of Shun Tak in Guangdong province. The firm’s factory was originally situated at 93-100 Lockhart Road in Wanchai, it also operated Chun Hing Store at 36A Queen’s Road Central which was involved in groceries, provisions and wine & spirits.  In 1949, the firm decided to relocate its factory to a new 10,000 sq ft, two floor factory building on Mong Lung Street in Shaukiwan (筲箕灣望隆街). The new plant, which employed 140 workers and included living quarters and garages, was opened by Sir Shouson Chow and was capable of producing 8,000 pounds of biscuit, 10,000 pounds of bread and thousands of pounds of confectionery per day. (香港工商日報, 1949-01-22)

Chun Hing Bakery Image 7 York Lo

Three major confectionery brands at the 1957 CMA Expo: Chun Hing (G), Yan Chim Kee (I) and On Lok Yuen (F).

The 1950s and 1960s were the golden decades for Chun Hing. Aside from its head office in Central, the firm had factories in Shaukiwan in HK island and Jordan in Kowloon and retail outlets in Central (Queen’s Road Central), Eastern district (Wanchai, where the Pawn is located and Causeway Bay) and Kowloon (687-689 Nathan Road in Mongkok). Its products were exported to Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and America.

Chun Hing Bakery Image 8 York Lo

1956 Chun Hing ad promoting its butter cracker and ham and chicken noodle. Source: 吳昊(老花鏡)

Old newspaper articles showed a very happy workforce which did not stage any strikes during the 1967 riots. The firm was also a staple at the annual HK Products Expo hosted by the Chinese Manufacturers Association with which Ho was very active.

Chun HIng Image 2 York Lo

Left: A highly efficient worker at Chun Hing who was capable of churning out thousands of confectionery goods per day (Source: 華僑日報, 1958-02-07); Right: Visitors buying biscuits and confectionery at the Chun Hing booth at the Silver Jubilee Exhibition of Hong Kong Products in 1967 (Source: HK Memory)

In 1961, a large banquet of over 1,000 guests was held to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the firm, the 60th birthday of Ho Chi-wong and his wife and Ho’s fifth son Ho King-sheung (何景常) winning the national baking competition in England where he was pursuing his studies in food science. King-sheung who won over 70 prizes at various baking competitions in the UK returned to join the family business in 1963 upon graduation as did Ho’s third daughter Louisa Ho (何肖琼) who graduated from the Cardiff College of Food Technology in Wales and also won numerous prizes at various baking contests in the UK during her two years of studies. (Kung Sheung Evening News, 1963-4-24)

Chun HIng Image 3 York Lo

Ho Chi-wong (seated, centre) and his family at the special banquet held in 1961. (Source: 華僑日報, 1961-07-28)

Chun HIng Image 4 York Lo

Ho Chi-wong (second from right) with his daughter Louisa (center) and son King-sheung (first from right) and the comprador and captain of the Laotian Line in 1963 (Source: 華僑日報, 1963-11-25)

Outside of Chun Hing, Ho Chi-wong was extremely active in the community, having served as a director of five major Chinese charitable organizations – Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Po Leung Kuk, Pok Oi Hospital and Chung Shing Benevolent Society and Lok Sin Tong in addition to being involved with trade groups such as CMA, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the various biscuit and confectionery trade groups, his native Shun Tak Fraternity Association and sports clubs such as South China Athletic Association and HK Table Tennis Association. As a result, when he died in May 1983, his funeral was attended by over 1,000 individuals (華僑日報, 1983-05-16)

Chun HIng Image 5 York Lo

Ho King-sheung speaking to the press about his joint venture in Dalian (Source: 華僑日報, 1987-02-15)

After Ho Chi-wong’s death, the factory in Shaukiwan was demolished in the 1980s and redeveloped into Galaxy Plaza (銀河廣場) and Chun Hing’s various retail outlets were also closed down. However, the Ho family remained active and influential in the business. King-sheung was involved with another food company as executive director setting up bakeries in HK and JVs in China.

Chun Hing Image 6 York Lo

Louisa Ho (Source: HK Bakery & Confectionery Association website)

Louisa left the family business to join a Danish pastry manufacturer as the director of their Chinese factory before teaching bakery at the Haking Wong Institute for 15 years.  She and King-sheung established the HK Bakery & Confectionery Association in 1988 to provide vocational training for the industry.

Chun Hing Bakery Image 9 York Lo

1960s Chun Hing ad promoting its “Energy Bread” which competed directly with Garden’s “Life Bread”. The ad specifically highlight that bread production was supervised by Ho King-sheung, The branches listed in the bottom include Central branch next to Queen’s Theater, Kowloon branch next to Majestic Theater, Wanchai branch next to Southorn Playground and another Kowloon branch at 91 Parkes Street in Jordan.

This article was first posted on 2nd June 2017.

Sources:

  1. 振興公司慶祝創業三十五週年紀念特刊編輯委員會編,《振興公司創業三十五週年紀念》(香港:香港振興有限公司,1961)
  2. http://www.superbookcity.com/media/mconnect_uploadfiles/9/7/9789621448149fp_uploaded.pdf
  3. 華僑日報, 1967-07-05

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