A History of the Wong Family Textile Business – Part One: Life in Shanghai

Eleanor Wong has written A History of the Wong Family Textile Business, a detailed account of her family’s business history in Shanghai, then in Hong Kong and finally Indonesia.

She was assisted in this project by her editor, Carey Vail.

Part One: Life in Shanghai  is a history of the Wong family’s interests in the textile industry in the city from 1911, when three thatched cottages were converted into a small factory, through 1948, when a decision was made to establish their first cotton spinning factory in Hong Kong, and finally to 1954 when the family had completely lost control of their hard-won heritage in Shanghai.

This was a period of tumultuous social, political and military upheavals in Shanghai and China. Revolutions, occupation and war. So the Wong story is not only one of family members, companies, factories, processes, workers and commercial developments. Rather a close interweaving of all these aspects – both industrial and political. It makes an absorbing read. It is linked below.

Many thanks to Eleanor for researching and writing her family’s story in Shanghai. Part two moves on to Hong Kong…

The story begins with Wong  Chi Yue who was born in the small Chinese coastal town of Donghai. He moved to Shanghai where in 1911 he set up a small workshop in the Hongkou area of Shanghai and who established the Da Feng Weaving and Dyeing Factory  in 1913 just over a century ago…

The Da Feng factory buildings

The Da Feng factory buildings


A banquet of honour given for Wong Chi Yue and other directors at Da Feng

A banquet of honour given for Wong Chi Yue and other directors at
Da Feng



China Cotton Mills Ltd founded 1939

This article was first posted on 25th September 2014.

Download part one of the Wong family history in pdf format : Part One Life in Shanghai

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. A History of the Wong Family Textile Business – Part Two: Life in Hong Kong
  2. Shanghai Spinners: Pioneers of Hong Kong’s industrialization, 1947-1955
  3. China Engineers Ltd 1928 Shanghai – 1937 Hong Kong
  4. William Charles Gomersall 1895-1960, China Engineers Ltd



  • Joan Harrison

    In WW2 my father was based in Johore Bahru Hospital as a member of the R.A.M.C. He worked in the Operating Room at the Hospital. He also played on the Hospital Football Team with a young man, surname Wong. This young man sent a letter to our family at home in England. It was signed Wong Arthur. I have never been able to trace him, and I am thinking that he signed it as Arthur to make it more understandable for me and my younger brother and sister, (Theory being that my mother had a brother named Arthur, and maybe it was suggested by our dad ). I do have a photo of the Football team. But maybe this is another of life’s mysteries which i will never solve.

  • Anonymous User

    I’ve been doing research on Wong families. Many years ago my great grandfather ran away from China, Our family had some kind of tradition, and my grandfather didn’t want to get married to the person they got for him. So I heard. I really hope one day I get to meet my Chinese family who are Wong.

  • Christian See

    Wong Chi Yue was my Great-Great Grandfather, through the line of my father. I am part of the branch living in Singapore, and I descended from Wong Foo Yuan, who was his youngest son.

Leave a Reply

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