Douglas Lapraik – further information

Douglas Lapraik Source: unknown

Lapraik arrived in Hong Kong in 1842 the beginning of British colonisation. He established himself as a successful capitalist in many businesses like watchmaking, shipping, and the opium trade. He cofounded the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Whampoa Dock Company, as well as investing in Keying, the first Chinese junk to sail from China to the US and Britain.

The Junk Keying

The Keying

There are remains of tenement houses at Cochrane Street (one of the oldest existing remains of the City of Victoria). This Inland Lot was originally owned by Lapraik.(1)

Douglas Lapraik was born in London, England on 7th October 1818 to George Rankine Lapraik and his wife Susan Lapraik (Black). Though born in England, Lapraik’s family was of Scottish origin, likely descended from the Lickprivick noble house of East Kilbride in the Shire of Lanark whose main holdings were Lickprivick Castle and, from the rein of Robert 111 in 1397, Lords of Killbride and owners of the relevant emoluments associated with the lordship. George Rankine Lapraik was originally from Muikirk, Ayrshire in Western Scotland and worked as an expat in London for the Scottish trading firm William Mathieson & Company. The couple had five children including John Lapraik (1814-1839), Douglas Lapraik and George Renkin Lapraik.

Douglas Lapraik was baptised on 2 March 1819 at the Scotch Church on London Wall in the City of London.

Lapraik arrived in Macao in 1839 and became apprentice to a Scottish watch and clockmaker named Leonard. In 1842 Lapraik was sent to Hong Kong in order to open a new branch of the company in the newly founded colony.

Soon after arriving in Hong Kong, Lapraik established himself with his own business as a watchmaker by 1846, whilst apparently still working for the Macao company.

Due to his trade in chronometers and watchmaking and given the need in the colony for shipping companies to register a local address  soon found himself drafted as a shipping agent.

Lapraik became established as a wealthy Hong Kong taipan during the 1850s and 1860s by taking part in the founding of many of the colony’s business ventures and expanding his business interests to many sectors of the colony’s economy.


  1. Heritage & Urban Development in Pokfulam, Publisher unknown
  2. Wikiwand

This article was first posted on 15th March 2024.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Douglas Lapraik – watchmaker, shipowner and co-founder of the Hongkong & Whampoa Dock Company

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