Long To Cotton Yarn (浪淘花紗)
York Lo: Long To Cotton Yarn (浪淘花紗)
Left: Long To founder Lam Man-yan; Right: Long To Building in Cheung Sha Wan (Primeoffice)
Long To Cotton Yarn was a major manufacturer of cotton yarn in Hong Kong which derived its name from the word play of the Chinese saying based on Tang Dynasty poetry of “Waves washing the sand” (浪淘沙) and the Chinese character for cotton yarn (花紗). Sadly, the firm like the saying had faded into history in the mid-2000s.
A native of the Tai Leung village in the Shunde district in Guangdong, Lam Man-yan (林文恩) founded Long To Cotton Yarn (as a firm it was incorporated in 1975) in Hong Kong.
Lam was honorary life president of the Shun Tak Fraternal Association in HK and when China re-opened in the late 1970s, Lam began donating money in his native Shunde, starting with $500,000 donation for purchase of industrial equipment and $260,000 towards water infrastructure in 1979. In 1984, he donated HK$2 million towards the construction of the Da Cheng Middle School, which has been renamed Lam Man Yan School in his honor. In 1989, he donated $1.2 million to build a senior center in Tai Leung named after his father Lam Mang-shing (林猛醒) and two years later donated HK$400,000 towards a foundation to support the ongoing operations of the senior center.
In 1992, Long To built the 16-story Long To Building (浪淘大廈) at 654-656 Castle Peak Road in Cheung Sha Wan and operated out of its second floor. Before that, Long To operated out of World-Wide House in Central.
In the early 1990s, the Long To group also went big into the mainland. In October 1992, it formed a joint venture with the state-owned Nanfang Flour Mill in Guangzhou with annual production of 200,000 tons of flour. The same year, Lam Man-yan teamed up with Lim Por-yen (林百欣, 1914-2005) of the Lai Sun group and formed Besto Investments Ltd (百淘投資發展, its Chinese name being an acronym of the second character of Lim’s Chinese name and the second character of Long To) to develop the Tianhe Entertainment Plaza (天河文化娛樂廣場) in Guangzhou, which was completed in 1998.
In the early 2000s, Long To established Shandong Weiqiao Bleaching-dyeing Co Ltd (山東魏橋漂染有限公司) in partnership with the Weiqiao Textile Group with US$5 million in investments and commenced operations in 2002.
By the mid-2000s, the Long To group was controlled by Lam Ka-wai (林家威) and Fan Kwan-tai (范群娣) and had fallen into hard times. In the 14 months leading up to 2005, the Long To group received 20 claims filed by banks such as Dah Sing, DBS and Bank of Communications totaling $110 million and as a result, Long To Cotton Yarn was forced to wind down.
This article was first posted on 11th September 2020.
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