The Families of H.M. Lui and M.G. Tsui, directors of Miramar and Furama
York Lo: The Families of H.M. Lui and M.G. Tsui, directors of Miramar and Furama
H.M. Lui (first from the left) and M.G. Tsui (second from the right) and fellow directors of Miramar at the opening of its City Club in 1980. Left to right: Lui, Young Chi-wan, Ho Sin-hang, Sir Tang Shiu-kin, Ho Tim, Leung Kau-kui, Sin Wai-kin, Tsui, Albert B.C. Young (KSEN, 1980-6-7)
While most people associate Miramar Hotels (美麗華大酒店) with its founder Young Chi-wan (楊志雲). and Miramar’s affiliate the former Furama Hotel with the family of Fu Tak-Iam, there were many minority shareholders and directors of the two firms ranging from the higher profile ones such as Ho Sin-hang (何善衡), Ho Tim (何添), Sir Tang Shiu-kin and Leung Kau-kui (梁銶鋸) of Hang Seng Bank/DCH who were directors of both to some of the lesser known ones at Miramar such as the jeweler David Sin Wai-kin (冼爲堅, see article on Hip Hing Construction), the Yue family who founded the photo-finishing pioneer Stereo (see article), and the family of Cheng Wai-kuen which founded Pro-Quality Electronics (see article).
Ad for Hin Fat Investment’s Moon-Fair Mansion in Shiu Fai Terrace in 1971 (WKYP, 1971-8-29)
H.M. Lui and M.G. Tsui were two low-key directors of both Miramar and Furama for many years before their deaths in the 1990s. Aside from Miramar and Furama, Lui and Tsui jointly formed Hin Fat Investment (建發有限公司) in 1957 to engage in property investment with $1 million in capital with offices at 411B China Building in Central. At the time, Lui’s address was listed as 91 Repulse Bay Road while Tsui was listed at 4 Hawthorn Road in Happy Valley. (FEER, 1957) Hin Fat later moved to Tak Shing House in Central and developed Moon-Fair Mansion in Shiu Fai Terrace on Stubbs Road in 1971 and was dissolved in 2009 while Miramar was acquired by Henderson Land in 1993 and Furama was acquired by Lai Sun Development in 1997 and the hotel itself was demolished in 2001 for re-development into the AIG Tower (now AIA Central). The children of H.M. Lui have been active in philanthropy globally through their Providence Foundation while M.G. Tsui’s son David and daughter in law Ling ran Collins, one of the first LED watch manufacturers and local watch brands in HK in the 1970s before achieving international fame as the owners and breeders of prize-winning thoroughbred horses in the 1990s and 2000s.
The Family of H.M. Lui (呂鶴鳴, 1906-1990) and the Providence Foundation (悟宿基金)
Left: Article about the appointment of Arielle Lui as deputy sales manager of the HK Hyatt in 1973(WKYP, 1973-4-3); Right: Edward Lui and his wife Anna looking at exhibits at the HK Baptist University Museum of Chinese Medicine in 2017 (HKBU Foundation)
H.M. Lui, who also went by the Portuguese name of Lourenco Lui Hac-minh or Lui Hock-ming, was a native of the Heshan district in Guangdong province. He went to the University of Shanghai and based on the Portuguese spelling of his name likely had spent some time in Macau before moving to Hong Kong where he made his fortune in real estate and stock investments.
Lui was the proprietor of the stock brokerage Wing Cheung Hing Investment (永祥興投資), which never appear to have incorporated and was operating out of the General Commercial Building at 156-164 Des Voeux Road Central in the 1990s. In early 1987, H.M. Lui had 3.99 million shares of Furama and opportunistically bought around 300,000 shares at the price range of $4-6 per share before selling them for profits as the market rallied that year. (TKP, 1987-3-10) Outside of business, he was a keen golfer and was a past president of Duffers, the Chinese golfing fraternity.
Lui was predeceased by his wife in 1988 and died of liver cancer in March 1990. Before he died, H.M. Lui established the Providence Foundation in 1989, whose board comprised of his four sons Peter Lui (呂寧信), Arthur Lui (呂寧誠, pediatrician in HK), Paul Lui (呂寧榮) and Edward Lui (呂寧義) and his daughter Arielle Lui Siu-ling (呂少玲). Arielle studied hotel management in London and New York and was appointed deputy sales manager of the HK Hyatt Hotel in 1973. She married Tjio Kayloe, a graduate of the University of London and Columbia University born in Surabaya who worked as an investment banker in HK, New York and Singapore before his retirement and wrote a book about Sun Yat-sen in 2017.
According to its description, the Providence Foundation has been giving out over HK$10 million each year, with medical research and education as its two focus. On the medical front, the Providence Foundation sponsored many medical research in HK and abroad over the years and donated HK$3 million in 2001 to the HK College of Paediatricians to establish the H.M. Lui Memorial Fund to promote postgraduate study and research in liver diseases and related discipline in children. The same year, the family also endowed the Lui Hac Minh Professorship at the School of Medicine at Stanford University which has been held by Samuel So, the founder and executive director of its Asia Liver Centre. The foundation also sponsored the Lui Hac Minh Gallery at the HK Museum of Medical Sciences and the Spastics Association of HK.
In term of education, the foundation has sponsored the construction or renovation of over 90 primary schools in rural areas in China since 2000. In 1998, the foundation donated $1 million to the Chinese Economic Research Center at Peking University for the creation of the Providence Foundation Professorship. The foundation also sponsors students from local universities (HKU, CUHK, HKBU, Lingnan) to attend 7 day leadership training at Outward Bound every year.
Sources (other than those cited above):
The Family of M.G. Tsui (崔薇閣): From Collins Watch (嘉林表) to Thoroughbred Horses
Left: M.G. Tsui in 1991 (Duffers); right: Ling Tsui (center) introducing his father in law’s business partner Y.C. Fu of Furama (left) to Manfredo Horowitz of Harry Winston in the early 1970s (seathestars.com)
M.G. Tsui whose full name was Tsui Mae-gook was born in 1916 and a native of Panyu in Guangdong province. He might be related to Hin Fat advisor and fellow Panyu native Tsui Ping-sai (崔聘西), who was a long-time lieutenant of the family of Ko Ho-ning (see article on Tak Chuen Distillery) responsible for managing their banking and insurance interests in Shanghai, HK and Macau. M.G. Tsui served as director of Furama from 1978 and by the late 1980s, he had migrated to the US and had sold his 500,000 shares of Furama although he remained on the board until his death in August 1992 in San Francisco. Like his business partner H.M. Lui, M.G. was a keen golfer and member of Duffers and started taking his son David Tsui Po-wing (崔寶榮) to play golf at the age of 11.
David graduated from the University of California and joined the family’s real estate business after graduation. In the mid-1970s, David married Wong Tze-ling (黃紫靈, better known as Ling Tsui), who was PR manager for Harry Winston and PR director for the Far East for Cartier in the early 1970s and previously married to Baron de Bavier in France. The couple became interested in electronics and took over Collins Industrial (嘉林實業), a small maker of electronic calculators in 1975 with 60 workers with David handling finance and legal and Ling in charge of production and sales.
Left: ad for Collins watch in 1977 (HK Yearbook by WKYP); Right: vintage Collins LED watch
As electronic calculators had become commoditized, the couple soon set their eyes on electronic watches – specifically LED and LCD watches which were beginning to take off in the mid-1970s and launched Collins Watch, one of the first local watch brands and LED watches in HK. Aside from electronic chips from the US and quartz from Japan, the case, bracelet, watch band, gold plating (using 30 automatic welding machines bought by the firm from the US) and assembly of the watches were all done by Collins. To stay ahead of the curve, Collins opened R&D office in New York and hired Dr. Tony Luce and Dr. Joe Goldmacher from Optel, who were responsible for the development of the world’s first LCD watch, as chief engineers. Distribution offices were also opened in Paris, Geneva, NYC and Tokyo.
Left: Elaine Sung conducting lucky draw at the opening of Collins Watch’s service center in Central in November 1975. David Tsui was next to her according to the Chinese caption (WKYP, 1975-11-21); Right: Ling Tsui at the Collins factory in 1980 (Femina, Nov 1980; seathestars.com)
To promote and support the brand, Collins invested heavily in marketing and opened its first service center in November 1975 on the ground floor of the On Lok Yuen Building in Central with Miss Hong Kong Elaine Sung (another Miss HK, Loletta Chu also modeled for Collins) as the guest of honor conducting a lucky draw. (WKYP, 1975-11-21) The publicity also attracted unwanted attention and the next month, seven armed burglars entered Collins’ factory at Tsuen Wan Industrial Building at 59-71 Wang Lung Street during payroll time and robbed over HK$100,000 in cash. By that time, the firm had grown to over 500 workers. (WKYP, 1975-12-6)
Within the industry, Collins became known for its benefits which included yearly trips for families and their families to Ocean Park, concerts by the likes of Roman Tam and New Year party at the Tsui family’s Furama Hotel. The 1978 party for its 800 employees for example included TV stars Adam Cheng and Wan Lau-mei as guests and over 100 prizes ranging from color TV, refrigerators and plane tickets. (WKYP, 1978-1-5)
In 1979, Collins achieved another first when it was invited by the government of Tianjin to establish an electronic factory in the city. 15 engineers from the mainland were sent to Collins’ HK plant for training and soon the factory was churning out 100,000 watches per month with 350 workers. (still exist today under the name of Silver Arrow) Collins also invested in two electronic factories in Beijing and in cultivation and canning of green beans aimed for the export market. By 1980, Collins was making over 500,000 watches per month and allegedly was the top electronic watch maker in HK and second in Asia to Seiko. Aside from watches and calculators, Collins also made clocks, radios and telephone sets (Directory of HK Industry, 1985)
Right: the Tsui family with their champion “Urban Sea” at the Prix Gontaut Biron in 1993. Left to right: jockey Cash Asmussen, Christopher Tsui, Ling Tsui, David Tsui and Yasuo Hattori, Vice Chairman of Seiko and Epson Corporation
Outside of watches, Ling Tsui also started her Ling fashion label which in the early 1980s was sold in over 100 boutiques in the US, Europe and Japan and had its own boutiques at 318 Rue St Honore in Paris and the Tsui’s Miramar Hotel in HK. In 1985, Ling established China Cheers Ltd which was involved in the development of a US$50 million, 800-1000 room resort in Guilin on 200 acres of land with two 18-hole golf courses in partnership with Guangxi International Culture Exchange Centre.
According to company records, two other parties involved in Collins Industrial aside from the Tsui family (M.G. was also a director of the firm) were Patrick Chau Cham-wong (周湛煌) and the rival electronic watch manufacturer Tele-Art (to be covered). The son of Sir T.N. Chau, Patrick served as managing director of the firm from 1972 to 1975 before starting his own watch companies – Shing Cheong Electronics (誠昌電業) in 1979 and Peace Mark (宜進利) in 1983, the latter prospered as a listed company before blowing up during the financial crisis in 2008. As a firm, Collins Industrial was incorporated in 1974 and dissolved in 2004.
In 1990, David Tsui bought one of his first horses – “Urban Sea” for US$50000 in France which proceeded to win the 1993 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at the Longchamp racecourse in Paris, the first racehorse owned by a Chinese owner to win the prestigious title since the race’s inception in 1920. The success prompted the family to go big into horseracing and established its breeding operation Sunderland Holding in France. Over the past three decades, Sunderland bred many successful horses including “Galileo”, “Black Sam Bellamy”, “All Too Beautiful”, “Melikah”, “Cherry Hinton”, “My Typhoon”, and “Urban Ocean” but the most successful of them all is ”Sea the Stars”, “Urban Sea”’s son which won the Arc, 2000 Guineas and the Derby in 2009, the only horse to do so in the history of thoroughbred racing. David and Ling’s son Christopher Tsui (崔家亮) as the owner of “Sea the Stars” was voted Owner of the Year by the British Racehorse Owners Association in 2009, the youngest person with the title at the age of 28. In late 2016, the family acquired three residential units in the Mid-Levels in HK for total of HK$201 million.
This article was first posted on 17th July 2020.
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