Chan Ching-pow (陳清雹) and Po Wah Land Investment (寶華置業) – Real Estate Developer from the 1960s
York Lo: Chan Ching-pow (陳清雹) and Po Wah Land Investment (寶華置業) – Real Estate Developer from the 1960s
Po Wah ad in 1964 advertising four of its properties in Kowloon – Po Kwong, Po On, Po Fung and Po Tai (WKYP, 1964-10-9)
During the property boom in the early 1960s, one of the most active developers in Hong Kong was a firm by the name of Po Wah Land Investment Co Ltd. Incorporated in 1958 with HK$200,000 in capital and operated out of Room 706 at Yu To Sang Building in Central, Po Wah developed at least a dozen buildings in the 1960s, mostly in Kowloon. Despite of its similar sounding Chinese name, the firm had nothing to do with the construction giant Paul Y. (see article) or Po Wah Building in Wanchai which was developed in 1958 by the unrelated Tai Sang Bank controlled by Ma Kam-chan and his brothers.
The key individual behind Po Wah was Chan Ching-pow (aka Chan Ching-pau), a Fukienese merchant whose trading firm of Kin Fung Hong (建豐行) at 179 Wing Lok Street was listed in all of Po Wah’sproperty advertisements. With profits in textile trading from Kin Fung Hong, Chan further augmented his fortune with investments in properties and hotels. He was a founding director of the Astor Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui which was founded in 1958 in partnership with other overseas Chinese merchants such as Kui Hoa-san (桂華山, aka Kwei Wah Shan, involved with Chang Ming-thien’s Overseas Trust Bank), Carlos Agon (吳國榮, first chairman of HK Hotels Association) and Nelson Leo (廖銓祺,managing director of the hotel and father of actress turn Buddhist nun turn educator Josephine Leo 廖鳯鳴).In addition to Po Wah, Chan also chaired Sun On Estate (新安置業) and Lee On Realty & Enterprises (利安地產), two listed property companies he co-founded with the Fong brothers (to be covered) and Yip Pak-cheung (葉百祥). Yip was listed as an original shareholder of Po Wah Land in 1958 alongside Yu Wing-yip (余榮業) of 162 Johnston Road, whose name matches that of the manager of the Ma On Shan Mines and director of Wo Kee Hong, distributor of Japanese electronics brands such as Pioneer but further evidence needs to be gathered to confirm if they are indeed the same person.
Left: Chan Ching-pow as Tung Wah director broadcasting in Fukienese in 1972 (Kung Sheung Evening News, 1972-8-25); Right: the Astor Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui (which became New Astor and now K-11)
In 1962, Po Wah listed 6 projects – Po Lai Building (寶來大樓) at 216-238 Ki Lung Street, Po Yee Building (普宜大樓) at 1026-1036 Canton Road, 6-story building at 229-231 Hollywood Road, 25-27 Tung Choi Street, 56-62 Tung Choi Street and Po Foo Building (寶富大樓) at 84-94 Percival Street.
Left: Kam Ling Restaurant in its hey day; Right: Po Wah ad in 1964 promoting Sun On Building in Shek Tong Tsui which was built on the site of the Kam Ling Restaurant (WKYP, 1964-3-16)
Also in 1962, Po Wah acquired the site of the famous Kam Ling Restaurant (金陵酒家) at 484-496 Queen’s Road West via Sun On Estate, which was incorporated in 1961. For close to half a century starting from the 1910s, Kam Ling was the epicenter of Chinese banquet and entertainment in HK island in the once prosperousShek Tong Tsui district. This was re-developed into the Sun On Building (新安大樓) in 1964 which still stands today after over half a century.
Left: article about 4 Po Wah properties for sale in 1962 (WKYP, 1962-6-8) Right: Po Wah ad in 1963 promoting Po Lun and Po Cheung buildings (WKYP, 1963-6-23)
In 1963, Po Wah launched 2 buildings in Mongkok – Po Lun Building (寶倫大樓) at 175-181 Portland Street and Po Cheung Building (寶祥大樓) at 260-264 Reclamation Street. As shown in the ad in the beginning of the article, Po Wah had 4 properties available in 1964 – Po Kwong Building (寶光大廈) at 2C Ma Hang Chung Road in To Kwa Wan, Po On Building (寶安大廈) at 30-36 Mongkok Road in Mongkok, Po Fung Building (寶豐大廈) at 75-79 Lai Chi Kok Road and Po Tai Building (普泰大廈) at 176-180 Nam Cheong Street in Sham Shui Po. Not much activities were recorded about Po Wah after the late 1960s and as a firm it was dissolved in 2003.
In 1972, Chan Ching-pow was elected a director of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals.By then, Chan’s primary real estate vehicles were Lee On Realty and Sun On Estate, which went public during the stock market boom of 1972-73. In addition to Sun On and Lee On, Chan was also on the board of the Kowloon Stock Exchange whose founder and chairman the accountant Peter Chan Po-fun also sat on the board of Sun On and Lee On. In 1979, Chan Ching-pow formed Asean Merchant Credit & Investment House Ltd (大亞商業金融), a deposit taking company formed in HK in partnership with Filipino Chinese tycoon Johnny Cheng ( 莊清泉）and Ralph Nubla( 高祖儒） and Malaysian Chinese tycoon Chang Ming-thien. In 1983, Sun On suspended property development and Chan Ching-pow was succeeded by Yip Pak-cheung as chairman. By then the Fong family was the largest shareholder of the firm and the firm was sold in 1989 and renamed Newfoundland International (sold again in 1993 and became China Everbright International)
Chan Ching-pow and his wife Lam Suet-har (林雪霞) had several children – his second son Alexis Chan Heung-kong (陳香江) married the daughter of KMB executive Choy Wai-hung (蔡惠鴻) in 1966 and worked at Overseas Trust Bank before running Asean collapsed alongside Cheng’s Hang Lung Bank and Chang’s OTB in 1983 and in 1993, Alexis was extradited back to HK from the US for nine fraud charges involving HK$26 million.
Wedding picture of Alexis Chan in 1966 (Kung Sheung Daily News, 1966-5-25)
Directors of Sun On Estate at its IPO in 1973. Right to left: auditor, Yip Pak-cheung, Yeung Siu-cho, Peter Chan Po-fun, Chan Ching-pow, Charles Sin Cho-chiu, Fong Hin-yeung, Fong Hing-wah (WKYP, 1973-3-16)
This article was first posted on 17th December 2018.
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