The German Speaking Community in Hong Kong 1846-1918 – Part One

HF: Vol. 34 of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch published in 1994 contains a lengthy article about German speakers in Hong Kong and of the companies they were involved in. It was written by Carl Smith.

I am familiar with only a small number of these companies and even fewer of those persons working for them. I don’t think most were of what we could describe as industrial, in that they were involved in manufacturing, shipping, mining, utilities etc. However a few were and I think it is of general merit to include the whole article on our website.

As the article is lengthy I think it best to break it up into at least two parts.

If you have not come across Carl Smith before you can read more about the man and his quite extraordinary passion for collecting data about Hong Kong here.

The whole RASHKB article is linked below. Let’s start with a gentle introduction into the numbers of Germans residing in Hong Kong either side of the turn of the 20th century.

Germans in HK 1871-1931 German Speaking Community Carl Smith HKBRAS

The article is divided into sections each with a subtitle. I present them here for those interested noting page numbers.

Germans in the Canton trade p5 – from 1783 and one John Reed who was commissioned as head of the Austrian Imperial Factory. Trading establishments at that time were called “factories”.

Missionaries and religious institutions p6

Club Germania (The German Club) p9 has information about this:
First location:
Second location:
Third location:

German Club UK National Archives

Courtesy: UK National Archive (See 2)

Doctors – The Medical Hall p11

Taverns, Boarding Houses, Cafes and Hotels p13

Mrs Petersen and the German Hotel Trade p16

Cafe Weissmann p19 – Lane, Crawford involvement as they bought a controlling interest in Weissmann Ltd

Firms p20

Germans Firms snipped opening paragraphs a German Speaking Community Carl Smith HKBRAS

Germans Firms snipped opening paragraphs b German Speaking Community Carl Smith HKBRAS

“The letter was signed by the following firms with the date of their founding:” [founding in HK I believe.] I have added a few notes on a couple of the companies.

HF: It is a little difficult to read some of these in the online version so please correct any mistakes I have made in typing them out. Thanks to Dan Waters for checking the companies from the published Journal.

Siemssen and Co. 1848
Karberg and Co. 1865
Melcher and Co. 1866 [C Melchers & Co was founded in Bremen in 1806]
Sander, Wieler & Co. [undated]
F. Blackhead and Co. 1854
Reuter, Bockelmann and Co. 1846
Garrels, Borner & Co. 1860 [in Hong Kong they operated under Garrel, Börner & Co. and was liquidated there in 1914]
William Meyerink and Co. 1889
Carlowitz and Co. 1866
Deutsche-Asiatische Bank 1900
Carl Bodiker and Co. 1860
Raderkers and Co. 1868
The Medical Hall 1853
Jebsen and Co. 1894
Berblinger and Co. 1908
Bume and Reif 1905
Ferd. Bornemann and Co. 1888
Kruse and Co. 1868
CM Schellhass
Hans Schubart [there was a Hans Schubart, 1903-1968, born in Hong Kong “of German banking stock. But the company?]
G Prien 1880
Ulerup and Shluter 1905
China Export Import and Bank Compagnie 1856
Charles J Gaupp 1859″

Germans Firms snipped firms German Speaking Community Carl Smith HKBRAS

“In addition to these names additional names appear on a list of firms in liquidation and the respective liquidators. These additions were:”

Wendt & Co.
O. Struckmeyer, Siemssen and Co.
Hugo G. Fromm
Witzke and Co.
H [i/u?], Bergdahl and Co. and personal affairs of Mr. F. Lorria
A. Bune, personal affairs
Hamburg Amerika Line
Norddeutsche Lloyd
Austrian Lloyd
H. Wicking and Co.

Germans Firms snipped firms in liquidation German Speaking Community Carl Smith HKBRAS

To be continued…

Source: The German Speaking Community in HK 1846-1918  RASHKB Vol 34, 1994

The undated photo on the Home Page is of Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in Hong Kong.


  1. RASHKB says “Anyone with an interest in the history, art, literature and culture of China and Asia, with special reference to Hong Kong, will enjoy membership of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, which is generally regarded as the premier Society for the study of Hong Kong and South China. Dating back over 150 years, the Society is today a very active body, organizing varied visits, talks, seminars and more.”
    The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch website
  2. A comment by clarence kk attached to the photo says: As seen from the cross-point at Wyndham Street and Glenealy in the Central. The sloping street at the right is the present D’Aguilar Street which leads to Lan Kwai Fong.

This article was first posted on 5th June 2015.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The German Speaking Community in Hong Kong 1846-1918 – Part Two
  2. F Blackhead & Company, c1908 article
  3. F. Blackhead & Co.’s Soap and Soda Factory – Shau Kei Wan 1896
  4. Blackhead Point, Signal Hill, TST – FJB Schwarzkopf and Blackhead & Co connection



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