Oriental Engineering (華捷洋行)

York Lo: Oriental Engineering (華捷洋行)

Oriental Engineering Image 1 York Lo

Representatives of Oriental Engineering welcoming L.A. Jull, chairman of LEC Refrigeration at the Kai Tak Airport in 1961 (KSDN, 1965-3-31) 

Founded in 1910 in Foochow, Oriental Engineering Co Ltd (incorporated in HK in 1964) is one of the oldest and largest distributors of refrigeration and kitchen equipment in HK and remains under the management of the founder’s family after close to 110 years of operations.  

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Obituary of Oriental Engineering founder Selden Yang in 1978 (WKYP, 1978-10-21) 

Selden D. Yang (楊世忠, 1895-1978), the founder of Oriental Engineering, came from the Fukien province and was a graduate of the YMCA School in Foochow. He followed his father into business and became the agent of the BUB brand of German marine diesel engines, which captured significant market share in the maritime market in Fukien market. Aside from Oriental, he became chairman of a steamboat company and was also the proprietor of the Foochow Tea Company and director of the Foochow Chamber of Commerce. Selden Yang and his wife Chiu Siu-yung (趙秀蓉, d.1964) has 4 sons and 4 daughters and after the War, he relocated to Hong Kong with his family where he first established Oriental at the Bank of China Building as an import export firm specialized in the exports of Chinese products such as tea, goose & duck feathers, camphorwood box and china. With the help of his four sons –  Richardson Chien-ming Yang (楊劍鳴), Yang Wen-Tse (楊文志), Windham Yeung Man-hang (楊文涵) and Yang Wen-chin (楊文勤), Selden Yang built Oriental Engineering into one of the leading distributors of refrigeration equipment in HK.

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Selden Yang (second from left) and sons with the president of Tyler Refrigeration (first from left) in 1956 (KSEN, 1956-5-10)

In the 1950s and 1960s, the firm had showrooms on the ground floor of the Man Yee Building at 21 Pottinger Street in Central on the HK side and 43 Jordan Road on the Kowloon side. Brands represented by Oriental during that era include Tyler refrigerators (泰來雪櫃) from the US, Kaiser television sets from Germany and LEC (利家牌, short for Longford Electrical Company) refrigerators from the UK and M.A.C. ice making machines from Italy. 

Oriental Engineering Image 4 York Lo

Left: Oriental ad for Kaiser brand of TV sets in 1964 (WKYP, 1964-2-3); right: ad for LEC refrigerators in 1962 (WKYP, 1962-5-19)

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Selden Yang (second from left) with Shui Hing owner Daniel Koo (first from right) and representative of Italian ice making machine manufacturer M.A.C. (second from right) demonstrating the machine to the press in 1968 (KSEN, 1968-4-21)  

Selden Yang died in October 1978 at the age of 83 and his pallbearers included representatives of the brands he represented and the Shanghainese insurance executive and Beijing opera patron King Sze-shing (金如新,1919-2005), whose son William King Vee-ming (金維明) married Yang’s granddaughter, the second daughter of Richardson Yang just a few months before in June. 

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Richardson Yang and his wife before their trip to Jakarta where Oriental was installing refrigerators for a supermarket chain in 1974 (KSEN, 1974-5-15)

Under the management of the second generation and the third generation members of the Yang family such as Starett Renson Yang (楊人) and Stephen Yang Ien-tien (楊人添), Oriental remains a major distributor of kitchen and refrigeration equipment today with large clients ranging from restaurant (KFC, Yoshinoya, Delifrance), retail (7-11, Circle K, Wellcome), hotel (Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons), amusement parks (Disney and Ocean Park), food brands (Haagen-Dazs and Nestle) to cinemas (UA, Broadway). Products currently represented by the firm include Skipio freezers and refrigerators, Taylor soft serve machines, Menumaster microwave ovens, Ice-O-Matic ice machines, Henny Penny fryers (used by fast food chains such as KFC), Gold Medal popcorn machines and Pregel gelato ingredients.     

Sources (other than those quoted above):

http://www.oequip.com/main/zh_hk/about

http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/cs/company-profile.oriental_engineering_company_limited.f4123933e7c520b9.html

This article was first posted on 22nd July 2019.

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