Tai Hing Enterprise (大興企業) – Property Developer from the 1950s and 1960s

York Lo: Tai Hing Enterprise (大興企業) – Property Developer from the 1950s and 1960s

Tai Hing Enterprise Image 1 York Lo

Left: picture and article about Tai Hing’s new project in Hunghom in 1957(KSDN, 1957-6-21); Right: Tai Hing ad in 1965 for Tai Hing Building and Wing Hing Building (WKYP, 1965-2-20) 

Tai Hing Enterprise Co Ltd was one of the most active real estate developers in the 1950s and 1960s with buildings in Hong Kong and Kowloon. The founder and chairman of Tai Hing was Chau Kwai-kan (周桂根, 1895-1979), a native of Shunde district in Guangdong province and graduate of Lingnan University in Canton (where many of the other pioneers of HK real estate also graduated from such as Pang Kwok Chan and Eddie Chan) who was active in community affairs during the time period as founding member of the Bayview Lions Club (香島獅子會) in 1963 (and later its president from 1966-67), director of Pok Oi Hospital in Yuen Long and chairman of the Chow Clansmen Association (周氏宗親會) in the 1960s. 

Tai Hing Enterprise Image 2 York Lo

Article about the election of Chau Kwai-kan as president of the Bayview Lions Club in 1966 with picture of him (right) from Linton Chu. (WKYP, 1966-6-11) 

Although Tai Hing was not incorporated until 1961, it was already involved in numerous development projects in the late 1950s. One of its first projects was two buildings on the former site of the Bailey Shipyard on Ma Tau Wai Road in Hunghom that were built in 1957, the first one being a 7-story building shown in the picture in the beginning of this article which was quickly sold out and the second one being a 8-story building on Hung Fook Street with flats starting at $11000 each. (KSDN, 1957-8-3) 

Tai Hing Enterprise Image 3 York Lo

Article and sketch of Tai Hing’s project on Un Chau Street in Sham Shui Po in 1958 (KSEN, 1958-11-8) 

In 1958, Tai Hing developed the building at the intersection of Shek Kip Mei Street and Un Chau Street shown in above article and the 12 story Austin Mansion (柯士甸大廈, 6 units per floor) at 15A Austin Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui. The firm offered the option of buying the Austin Avenue property with 10 years of $150 monthly payments and highlighted to prospective buyers that the flat could be rented out for $300 per month, representing a high profit margin. (KSDN, 1958-1-3) 

Tai Hing Enterprise Image 4 York Lo

Chau Kwai-kan with fellow leaders of the Shunde community in HK in 1962. Left to right: Leung Hing-wai (梁慶維), Ko Yin-yue (高燕如) of Wellcome, Chow Kwan-ling (周君令) of Chow Sang Sang, Chau Kwai-kan , Ng Siu-mui (伍少梅), weaving mill owner Ho Heung-min (何享綿), Ho Yam-shuen(何陰璇), Leung Kwai-yee of Kwong On Bank, Mak Lai-yim (WKYP, 1962-4-19) 

In 1961, Chau Kwai-kan as the owner of ten buildings at 73-91 Chun Yeung Street in North Point (see article on Kwik Djoen-eng on the original development of this street) applied to the Tenancy Tribunal in 1961 to re-develop the site into a ten story building with the ground floor as shops, first floor as office and second floor and up as residential units. The project was projected to cost $1 million and 13 months and after which the total space would increase from 33860 sq ft to 78380 sq ft.  (WKYP, 1961-9-28) The project was completed in 1963 as the 9-story Tai Hing Building (大興大廈) with 9 units per floor.  

Tai Hing (2)

Ad for Hing Cheung, Kam Hing and Tai Hing buildings in 1963 (WKYP, 1963-5-22) 

Aside from the Tai Hing Bulding in North Point, Tai Hing also had Kim Hing Mansion at 49-51 Kimberley Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and Hing Cheung Building on Shau Kei Wan Road available for sale in 1963 as shown in above ad.

In 1965, the firm developed Tai Hing Building (大興大廈, not to be confused with the building with the same name in North Point mentioned above) at 119-121 Des Voeux Road West and Wing Hing Building (興大廈) at 25-31 Wing Hing Street in Causeway Bay. By that time, Tai Hing was operating out of the Kwong On Bank Building at 137 Queen’s Road Central (see ad in the beginning of the article) but by the late 1960s, its offices was listed as Hang Seng Bank Building at 77 Des Voeux Road Central ( Trade Bulletin, 1967; Hong Kong $ Directory, 1970). 

At Tai Hing, Chau Kwai-kan was supported by his wife Foc Ngoi (aka Fock Oi-wah) who was vice chair of the firm and Chau Vi-cuong and Chau Wai-kin, directors of the firm. Aside from Tai Hing, the family also controlled Airland Investment Co Ltd (愛蓮置業), which was incorporated in 1962 and dissolved in 1968.  By the 1970s, Chau Kwai-kan had immigrated to Canada where he died in Vancouver in 1979 at the age of 83. 

As a firm, Tai Hing Enterprise was dissolved in 1982. 

Tai Hing Enterprise Image 5 York Lo

Chau Kwai-kan (right) as chairman of the Chow Clansmen Association receiving the log of donors for the Association Building from the Association’s life president Sir S.N. Chau at the Chinese New Year gathering of the Chow Clansmen Association in 1964 (WKYP, 1964-3-16) 

Sources (other than those cited above): 

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FL19-W6V

This article was first posted on 14th August 2020.

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