Pak Wo Cheung (百和祥) and Secure Industries (保美實業)

York Lo: Pak Wo Cheung (百和祥) and Secure Industries (保美實業)

Pak Wo Cheung Image 1 York Lo

Chan Ho-sang and friends visiting the ROC consulate general in Honolulu during the Hawaiian trip. Left to right: Mr & Mrs. Wong Kam-fun (黃錦芬), consul general Hu Si-fan (胡世勳), Wong Sik-pun (黃錫彬, the Chan family’s business partner in Asia Motor), Chan Ho-sang, their tour guide Tso Hak-on (曹克安,brother of Tso Tsun on of HK Cement, see article)

Earlier in the group, we have covered the Hui family and Lune Hing Cheong, one of the leading “Annam guilds” in Hong Kong which specialized in trading with Indochina. Another leading Annam guild which was headed up by another Chiuchow family was Pak Wo Cheung led by the family of Chan Ho-sang (陳浩生), who like the Hui family are natives of Chiuchow and leveraged the strong network of Chiuchow merchants in Southeast Asia to achieve success. Like the Huis, the Chans also deployed their profits from trading into other businesses including the first vinyl flooring factory in HK under the name of Secure Industries and had stakes in bank, investment company and car dealership.

Pak Wo Cheung was incorporated in 1957 (although it was founded earlier) with HK$1.5 million in capital by Chan Ho-sang and his son Chan Dai-bun (陳大濱, who also went by the Vietnamese spelling of Tran Dai-bang) who were living at 8 Cooper Road in Jardine’s Lookout. (FEER) In the 1950s and most of the 1960s, the firm was operating out of 128 Bonham Strand East in the Nam Pak Hong district (HK Chinese Business Yearbook, 1954; Foreign Commerce Weekly, 1962) but later moved to the HK Metropolitan Bank Building next door at 134-136 Bonham Strand East by the late 1960s. (XIanggang Shikuang, 1968) The Chan family was a founding investor in HK Metropolitan Bank (京華銀行), which was incorporated in 1960 with HK$10 million contributed by the Tejapaibul and U Chuliang family of Bangkok Metropolitan Bank and other Chiuchow merchants from HK and Southeast Asia such as Fong Kai-yan, Lee Wai-nam and Lam Kai-chun and U’s business partner Chua Lian-huat of Min Ngai Huat Kee (see article) was also a founding shareholder. (WKYP, 1960-11-3). Ho-sang was vice chairman while Dai-bun was executive director of the bank, which opened for business in August 1961 and was later acquired by BCCI in 1983 and became BCCI’s HK branch.

Pak Wo Cheung Image 2 York Lo

Chan Dai-bun (fifth from the right) and his father Chan Ho-sang and other directors of the HK Metropolitan Bank at its opening in August 1961 (KSDN, 1961-8-22)

Born in Swatow in 1926, Dai-bun went into business after graduating from high school. In 1962, Chan Dai-Bun incorporated Secure Traders (保安洋行), which operated out of the same office as Pak Wo Cheung and the products traded by Secure included construction materials, plastic, cardboards, aluminum, furniture, glassware, floorings and water heaters which differentiated from the more traditional products such as animal feed traded by Pak Wo Cheung. The firm also had a branch in Taipei by the name of Pao Feng Limited.

Pak Wo Cheung Image 3 York Lo

Article about Chan Dai-bun and Wong Ho-sang’s round the world trip in 1962 with picture of them at the Kai Tak Airport (KSDN, 1962-4-19)

Dai-Bun was supported at Secure by his younger brother Chan Dai-dao (陳大道) and export import manager Wong Ho-sang (王浩生). In April 1962, Chan Dai-Bun and Wong Ho-sang went on a round-the-world business trip which included stops in Milan, Italy, Hanover, Germany and Seattle in the US for 2.5 months.

In 1963, the Chan brothers established Secure Industries, the first manufacturer of vinyl floorings in Hong Kong and launched its Secuflor brand of vinyl floorings at the HK Products Expo that year. (WKYP, 1963-12-4)

During the expo, Secure’s booth was visited by the Governor Sir Robert Black and his daughter Barbara and the firm also ran a pattern design competition to match living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and stairs with grand prize of $1000. The firm received a total of 657 entries and winners were picked by a judging panel comprised of D.Y. Pong of Shiu Wing Steel and architects Jackson Wong, Ng Chun-man and Leslie Ouyang Chao and the top three designs were displayed at the Secure Industries’ booth at the Expo.(WKYP, 1964-1-1) The firm also boasted about the vinyl flooring’s durability with the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Expo who had stepped on the floorings at its booth. In January 1964, the firm acquired a 165000 sq ft plot of land on Hoi Bun Road in Kwun Tong for $1.65 million to build a factory. (WKYP, 1964-1-8) The firm manufactured over 30 different color of vinyl floorings which was used by banks, schools, hospitals in addition to residences locally and exported to Southeast Asia in markets such as Malaysia and to Australia and the Middle East. (WKYP, 1965-1-12) Aside from floorings, the firm also manufactured vinyl railings and skirtings under the brand of Securail and Secuskirt. (Redbook, 1968)

Pak Wo Cheung Image 4 York Lo

Left: Chan Dai-dao (right) shaking the hand of Governor Black when he visited Secure Industries’ booth at the HK Products Expo in December 1963 (WKYP, 1963-12-7); Right: Secure Industries booth at the 1963-63 HK Products Expo (WKYP, 1963-12-13)

Outside of trading and manufacturing, the Chan brothers established Secure Investment (保安投資) which traded U.S. stocks, bonds and mutual funds with the help of H.Y. Shum (沈起英). The family also invested in Asia Motor Co (to be covered), the HK distributor of BMW and Peugeot automobiles started in 1966 by Singaporean auto king Fang Yen-san and backed by fellow Chiuchow tycoons Chin Sophopanich of Bangkok Bank and watch magnate Chong Ching-um and Wong Sik-pun of Overseas Trust Bank (to be covered).

Pak Wo Cheung Image 5 York Lo

Chan Dai-bun (second from left) and Shum Hei-ying (first from left) with friend Eric Chu (諸兆鴻,first from right, he was also a director of HK Metropolitan Bank), the HK branch manager of US investment bank Kidder Peabody and the head of Kidder Peabody’s international business who was visiting HK in 1961 (WKYP, 1961-10-1)

Outside of business, Chan Dai-bun was on the board of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in 1962 alongside fellow Chiuchow tycoon Tse Sek-fui (son of HK Old Mary, see article) and Po Leung Kuk and was a charter member of the Lions Club of Victoria. (HK Album, 1967)

As a firm, Secure Traders was dissolved in 1995 while Secure Industries and Pak Wo Cheung were dissolved in 2002.

This article was first posted on 21st December 2020.

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