The Hong Kong Match Factory, newspaper report 1947
IDJ has sent the following article providing information about, I think, a new company on our website, The Hong Kong Match Factory.
Thanks to John Hall for proofreading the retyped article.
Kowloon Manufacturer Plans Big Match Factory
Although Hong Kong’s safety match industry is among the first casualties of Japan’s re-entry into the local and Southeast Asia markets, at least one manufacturer is not discouraged but is making plans for the future to compete with foreign products.
The Hong Kong Match Factory, which recently purchased a 13,000 square-foot lot in Kowloon City at a P.W.D land auction, intends to erect an up-to-date match factory on the area with modern machinery from the Unites States, the “China Mail” learned yesterday.
The factory now occupies land leased for eight and a half years in 1939 when it was forced to evacuate from Swatow to Hong Kong because of the Japanese attack on China.
For the first nine months after the end of the war, there was a safety match boom with local factories enjoying full control of the market in Malaya which was the biggest importer from Hong Kong, followed by the Netherlands East Indies and Java. Singapore alone absorbed 2,000 cases a month.
Today, however, Hong Kong’s match factories are working at a loss. Since the beginning of the year orders from overseas have been dropping. The influx of U.S. Army surplus matches affected the local market and the ordering of a considerable quantity of matches from Japan by the Singapore Government resulted in dealers in Malaya refraining from placing further orders with local manufacturers. Unconfirmed reports said that the Singapore authorities were buying some 30,000 cases of matches from Japan.
The Great China Match Co Ltd., told the “China Mail” that the current match slump was due to selling at competitive prices at high costs, the rubber slump and the invasion of other brands of matches in the local and south-east markets.
The manager of the company, Mr. J.T.L. Chan, said that for nine months after the end of the war, Hong Kong was the sole supplier of matches to Malaya and Java and the East Indies. But since the beginning of the year, his company has been operating at a loss.
He pointed out that of all local products, safety matches today were the only commodity selling below pre-war prices. In December 1941, the price for a case of 7,200 boxes of matches was $185. For the first six to nine months after the Liberation a case of matches brought four to five times the pre-war rate but today a case was selling under $185.
Illustrating the losses being sustained, Mr Chan said that raw materials had gone up over 200 per cent, labour by almost 630 per cent and other expenses by nearly 300 per cent.
The Hong Kong Match Factory also complained it was working at a loss. An official of the company added that the only people reaping the benefits of the industry were the retailers and hawkers who were selling matches at five to 10 cents a box.
Source: The China Mail 5th August 1947.
This article was first posted on 26th September 2021.
Related Indhhk articles:
- Great China Match Company explosion January 1948
- Great China Match Co. (大中國火柴廠)
- The Hong Kong Match Factory – 1949 strike, 64 workers imprisoned