The Hui family of Chan Kwong Kee and New Universal
York Lo: The Hui family of Chan Kwong Kee and New Universal
Left: Firecrackers outside of the new Chan Kwong Kee store at 198 Queen’s Road Central in 1953 (David Hui; hkoldphoto); Right: Ad for New Universal in the 1970s (1976 HK Scouting Gazette)
Earlier on the website we covered several jewelers who have been in business for three generations. This article profiles the family of Hui Po-wan (許步雲, 1894-1978), which has been the proprietor of Chan Kwong Kee Jewellery and New Universal Jewelry in Central since the 1950s
Chan Kwong Kee Jewellery(陳廣記珠寶行)
According to the website of Chan Kwong Kee Jewellery controlled by the Hui family, the firm was founded in 1948 and began exporting loose stones, jade and ready-made jewelry to Southeast Asia, the US and Canada in the 1950s. A newspaper article from 1937 about a burglary shows that Chan Kwong Kee was already in existence in the 1930s with a starting date in 1934/1935 and its founder being Chan Chi-tong (陳智堂). At the time, the firm leased its space from Tin Fook Goldsmith at 210 Queen’s Road Central which was owned by Ng Fan-yiu, a Toishan native who returned from San Francisco and was in his fifties. In March 1937, five burglars with guns robbed Chan Kwong Kee and Tin Fook and walked away with HK$40-50 in cash and a bunch of jewelry. (Wah Tsz Yat Po, 1937-3-23)
There is another jeweler with the same name of Chan Kwong Kee but it is unclear as to what its connections to the Chan Kwong Kee controlled by the Hui family is. That Chan Kwong Kee, which calls itself the Chan Kwong Kee Group was founded in 1907 by Chan Kwong (陳廣), who was succeeded by his son Chan Chiu-tak (陳潮德) in 1952 and then the third generation in the 1980s. (see website link at the end of the article)
In 1953, Chan Kwong Kee opened its new store at 198 Queen’s Road Central and by the late 1950s, Hui Po-wan was already the chairman of Chan Kwong Kee as described in an article about his son Ronald going to study in Canada. Since the 1980s, Chan Kwong Kee has been operating out of the ground floor of the Stag Building at 148 Queen’s Road Central (Business Directory of HK, 1985).
Ad for Chan Kwong Kee in 1960 (left) and 1962 (right). The 1960 ad listed New Universal as an affiliate on its right. Source: WKYP, 1960-11-29; 1962-6-14
New Universal Jewelry (新宇宙珠寶)
Article about the opening of New Universal at 8 Carnavon Road in 1959 (WKYP, 1959-11-26)
In November 1959, the Hui family opened New Universal Jewelry at 8 Carnavon Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and the opening ceremony was attended by several hundred guests including Ho Sin-hang and Ho Tim from Hang Seng Bank, Stanley Kuo of Wah Chong (see articles), Lo Siu-tong and his brothers, and fellow jewelers such as Cheng Yu-tung of Chow Tai Fook, Chow Kwan-ling of Chow Sang Sang, Young Chi-wan of King Fook, Lo Ka-chow and Lo Ka-chung of Foo Hang, Leung Chiu-lam of Po Kwong and many others.
The Hui brothers with guests at the opening of the New Universal store at the HK Hilton in 1963. Left to right: Hui Check-wing, Ho Tim, Woo Hon-fai, Chan Pak-hang, Hui Bun, Wong Cho-sum (WKYP, 1963-5-20)
In May 1963, New Universal opened its flagship store at the newly opened HK Hilton after a year of preparations and featuring designs by Chan Tak-chuen (陳德銓), the son of fellow jeweler Chan Pak-hang (陳伯衡) and brother of HK Central Hospital head Dr. Chan Tak-kwong. (WKYP, 1963-5-16)
In 1973, the New Universal store at the Hilton was robbed twice, the second time in June by four masked robbers who took HK$1.4 million worth of jewelry. (KSEN, 1973-6-17) Three of the four robbers were arrested and sentenced to 10 and 8 years in jail respectively. In March 1975, two burglars robbed the Hilton store again and walked away with $600,000 worth of jewelry and watches. (WKYP, 1975-3-22)
After the Hilton closed, New Universal operated out of New Henry House and currently operates out of the 22nd floor of the HK Diamond Exchange Building.
The Second and Third Generation of the Hui Family
Hui Bun (center) and Hui Check-wing (second from left) with Lo Siu-tong (first from left) and other guests at the opening reception of New Universal’s store at the HK Hilton in 1963 (WKYP, 1963-5-16)
Hui Po-wan died in April 1978 at the age of 86 and he was survived by his wife Ng Lai-wah, five sons (by order of birth) – Hui Bun (許彬), Hui Check-wing (許爵榮), Henry Hui (許灼良), Ronald C.K. Hui (許灼高, 1937-2007), Hui Cheuk-fan (許灼勳) and two daughters – Hui Kit-san (許潔珊) and Hui Kit-yu (許潔瑜).
Left: Hui Bun (first from the left) and others swearing in as president of the Lions Club of Lionrock HK in 1987 (WKYP, 1987-6-25); Right: Ronald Hui as a student in 1959 (WKYP, 1959-9-13)
Hui Bun and Hui Check-wing were manager and deputy manager of New Universal when it was launched in 1959 and jointly managed CKK and New Universal for many years. Outside of the jewelry business, Hui Bun served as president of the Lions Club of Lionrock in the 1980s.Born in 1927, Hui Check-wing held a certificate in gemology from GIA in California and was chairman of the HK Diamond Importers Association from 1975 to 1977 during which he maintained a very profile in promoting diamonds. He was also an active participant (and winner), organizer and judge in many local and international jewelry design competitions over the years. Outside of business, he was well-known in the local photography circle (winning many prizes with works in museum) and served as director of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in 1973-74 along with Bill Bong (see article on Ha Lung Hong), David Han (see article on M.C. Oung), Pun Yin-keung (see article on plumbing industry) and Wong Tat-lun of Tung Chun Sauce Factory (see article on “Five Treasures” of the HK Sauce Industry). Hemarried Chan Miu-ngan (陳妙顏), with whom he has 4 sons and 2 daughters. (Men of Achievement, 1982)
Ronald Hui graduated from McGill University with a mechanical engineering degree in 1959 and settled in Canada where he joined Alcan as a design engineer and married Colette Tremblay. (WKYP, 1965-9-7) He died in 2007 in Montreal and was survived by his wife and three children. Hui Cheuk-fan is an architect and scholar and collector of modern Chinese paintings.
Left: Article about the election of Hui Check-wing as chairman of the Diamond Importers Association in 1975 with his picture. (WKYP, 1975-2-15); Right: Lo Siu-tong
Hui Kit-san (許潔珊) married Lo Siu-tong (羅肇唐,1929-2020), the founder of property developer Yu Tai Hing (裕泰興) which has developed over 250 buildings including 100 QRC in Central (built in 2006) and Grand Deco Tower in Tai Hang (built in 1999) since its inception in 1966. The ninth child of Lo Yu-chik (羅裕積), Lo’s family is one of the leading proprietors of pawn shops in HK which is closely connected to the jewelry trade and his cousin also married Hui Cheuk-ying, a cousin of his wife. In 2019, the Lo family led by Lo Hui Kit-san donated HK$100 million to HK Baptist University. Theeldest of their three sons – Alexander Law (羅守弘) is an architect who owns budget hotel chain Bridal Tea House Hotel while the second son Francis Law Sau-fai (羅守輝) is a real estate investor and the owner of the site of the Sunbeam Theatre and the third son Dennis Law Sau-yiu (羅守耀) is the managing director of Yu Tai Hing and has invested and directed films including Fatal Move and The Constable. Hui Kit-yu married Yip Kwong-kei (葉廣祺).
Chan Kwong Kee and New Universal are currently managed by third generation members David Hui Yat-tung (許日彤) and Kenneth Hui Yat-sun (許日新) respectively. David Hui, who is deputy treasurer of the HK Jewelers & Goldsmith Association is also known for his collection of old Hong Kong pictures and had published two books in Chinese in 2014 and 2016 covering HK and Kowloon. Agnes Hui Hang-yin (許行賢), the second daughter of Hui Bun, graduated from HKU in 1969 and received her MBA from the University of Toronto in 1972. Afterwards, she returned to HK where she joined HSBC and served as senior executive in the trust and family office departments. (WKYP, 1972-10-26)
Sources (other than those cited above):
This article was first posted on 3rd May 2021.
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