Tai Ping Carpets International Ltd, 1956 to the early 1970s

HF: Tai Ping Carpets was founded in 1956 by a group of seven friends. Each of the seed investors contributed HKD10,000 to build  a factory to employ mainland refugees. I have found no information about where this factory was. No doubt the Anthony Lawrence book about the company mentioned at the end of this article would provide great detail regarding the early days. I have not read it.

The company began as a project to preserve China’s tradition of handmade  and hank-knotted carpets and to thus protect a generation of crafts people fleeing China.

However it soon became apparent that Hong Kong’s workers had less patience than those in China and  the company initially lost staff as fast as it could train them. A move to hand-tufting – where yarn is stitched on to a backing cloth – provided the initial production breakthrough.

More importantly shortly after Tai Ping’s  launch, Anthony Yeh, a  mechanical engineer and one of the company’s directors invented a motorised hand gun for tufting. This allowed carpets to be made faster and more efficiently. This had worldwide implications and lead to the successful commercialization carpets when the patent ran out after 20 years.

In 1957, Tai Ping opened a showroom in Hong Kong beside The Peninsula Hotel.

In 1959, production moved to larger premises in Tai Po which remained the company headquarters and main factory for the next 32 years.

In the 1970s, the launch of a Paris showroom introduced Tai Ping to an international market, particularly in Europe and Asia.

This article was first posted on 26th April 2014.



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