Lee Lim Ming (李琳明): King of Metal Pins and Badges
York Lo: Lee Lim Ming (李琳明): King of Metal Pins and Badges
Left: Ming Sang Industrial Building; right: a Lee Lim Ming pin for the Royal HK Regiment
Founded in 1939 and incorporated in 1963, Lee Lim Ming Metal Works (李琳明金屬製造廠) has been making metal pins and badges for large companies (such as Maxim’s, KFC franchise operator Birdland, Cathay Pacific), government agencies (e.g. Police and Fire Service departments) and schools (e.g. St Paul’s Co-Ed) for over three quarter of a century and command a dominant market position. It also manufactures tie-clips, key-chains, cuff-links, car badges, certificate shields, metal plaques, metal clips, display stands and matt finish products.
Above: Lee Lim Ming pin for Cathay Pacific Airlines
A native of Enping (Yan Ping) in Guangdong province, the firm’s eponymous founder Lee Lim-ming (1902-1987) followed his parents to Manila at an early age where he graduated from the Chinese Middle School. He became a photo etching professional and after the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, Lee moved to Hong Kong where he founded Lee Lim Ming Metal Works.
After the War, business took off thanks to his excellent product quality and customer service. The firm established its plant at 3 Dundas Street in Mongkok and a retail branch was established at the Sun Hing Building at 607 Nathan Road.
Lee Lim-ming (second from left) with other leaders of the HK Photoetching Association (電版業商會) in 1962 (WKYP, 1962-7-2)
Lee Lim-ming (centre) with family and friends at Kai Tak Airport in 1964 before his trip to the US
Lee Lim Ming booth at the HK Products Expo in 1967 (left) and 1968 (right)
During the 1960s, Lee was active with the Chinese Manufacturers Association and the HK Photoetching Association, both of which he served on the board of and LLM Metal Works participated at the popular HK Products Expo organized by the CMA. He also expanded into the jewelry business via Ming Sheung Jewelry Co (明商珠寶) and Lee’s only son Lee Ming-sang (李明生) who had studied at Chu Hoi College had joined the family business.
In 1971, Lee Lim Ming built the 12 story, 50,000 sq ft Ming Sang Industrial Building (明生工業大廈, named after his son) at 19-21 Hing Yip Street in Kwun Tong, equipped with two 35000 pounds new industrial elevators that had speed of 150 feet per minute.
Article about the opening of Ming Sang Industrial Building in 1971 (WKYP, 1971-6-29)
In March 1973, Lee Lim Ming opened a retail outlet on the HK island side on Man Yee Lane next to the Man Yee Building and CMA chairman Chong Chung-men was invited to open while guests at the opening ceremony included Sir Kenneth Fung, Q.W. Lee and other CMA leaders in the metal industry such as C.L. Hsu of Diaward, C.C. Yin of Dah Chung and Choi Cheung kok of Tingtai Hwachong.
Opening of the Central showroom for Lee Lim Ming Metal Works with CMA chairman Chuang Chong-men (left) and Lee Lim-ming (right) in 1973. (WKYP, 1973-3-24)
Wedding notice of Lee Ming-sang and So Yuet-ping (蘇月萍) in 1964. (WKYP, 1964-3-29)
Article about Lee Lim-ming’s 80th birthday celebration and charitable giving (WKYP, 1982-9-5)
Outside of work, Lee Lim-ming was very active in community affairs. He served as chairman of the Sze Yup Chamber of Commerce and Yan Ping Industrial & Commercial Association (hereafter refer to as “YPICA”), director and head of investigation committee of the Chinese Manufacturers Association, founding president of the Lions Club of HK East, director of the HK Chinese Club and chairman of the Central Property Owners Association. When he turned 80 in 1982, his family organized a large celebration at the Maxim’s Palace in Central with over 100 tables and speeches by Sir Kenneth Fung and Shum Choi-sang of Wah Kiu Yat Po. At the occasion, he donated HK$1.8 million to the YPICA to build schools and the results were YPICA Lee Ng Sui Oi Memorial School (李吳瑞愛紀念學校) in Shatin and YPICA Lee Lim Ming College in Tuen Mun. Lee Lim-ming died in 1987 and was succeeded by his son.
Article about the approval for YPICA Lee Lim Ming College in 1986 (WKYP, 1986-11-6)
- Wah Kiu Yat Po, 1979-4-29, 1986-11-6
This article was first posted on 25th May 2018.
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