Wang Tak Engineering & Shipbuilding Company, 1938 to present
Stephen Davies has sent this photo of various shipyards post-WW2 along the Cheung Sha Wan coastline. Details are unclear but he believes one of these is Wing On Shing Shipyard, article linked below.
The only yard that can be readily identified is Wang Tak Engineering & Shipbuilding Company just left of centre.
Adapted from the company website: “The story of our company began in 1938, when Mr. Szeto Ho founded a small company to provide afloat repairs from a workshop on the Kowloon waterfront.
In the fifties, Wang Tak expanded to cater to the demand for ship conversion from coal to fuel-burning boilers on ocean-going vessels. When ship building took off the ’60s and ’70s, the Company was already technically accomplished and well-poised to supply a new level of competence required by an increasingly sophisticated industry.
The yard is still owned today by members of Szeto family and is a leading service provider for catamarans commuting between Hong Kong and China. It also provides on-going maintenance of container-handling equipment to terminal operators and has been involved in various engineering projects for private and government institutions.” (1)
Two Star Ferries were built by Wang Tak. The Golden Star (金星號) and the World Star (世星號).
This article was first posted on 28th August 2016.
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The Szetos are one of the four big postwar shipbuilding families in HK (the other three being the Lo family of Cheoy Lee Shipyards, the Leung family of UDL and the Wong family of Chung Wah Shipbuilding, the later two no longer in the business). I am interested to write an article on the Lo family of Cheoy Lee (which has the longest history) at a later time.
There are quite a lot of articles about Szeto Ho (1886-1977) from 1953 until his death in 1977 at the age of 91 but most of it has to do with his involvement with the Five Districts Business Welfare Association (the five districts in Guangdong which are the ancestral homes to many Chinese immigrants; the Szetos are from Hoiping or Kaiping in Mandarin) which has a school named after him.
Attached is a picture of Szeto Ho from a 1953 article.
Szeto Ho has 7 sons, most famous of whom was his second son Szeto Fai (1918-1993), who founded Afai Ships in 1949 after working for a decade at Wang Tak. Afai was one of the builders of high speed aluminium ships in the world and Szeto Fai was also very active in the community having served on the board of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Manufacturers Association, chairman of Szeto Family Association and also representative to the National People’s Congress and CPPCC. As Szeto Fai struck out on his own, the task of growing Wang Tak was left to his younger brothers Szeto Kwan, K. Seeto, Szeto Hon, Szeto King, Szeto Wang (listed in order of birth) and they successfully expanded the firm beyond shipbuilding (including Star Ferries and also the largest salvage tugboat built in HK in 1978 in partnership with Niigata of Japan) and repair to shipping (joint venture with NYK Line in Japan), major civil engineering projects (TST East pedestrian bridges, Ngong Ping 360, HK Intl Airport, Prudential Centre in Jordan etc) and real estate development (Banyan Garden in Cheung Sha Wan and Splendid Centre in Tai Kok Tsui).
Szeto Wang’s Facebook page which includes lots of old pictures of Wang Tak projects and also the Szeto family tree can be found at below link:
Article about Wang Tak:
Chinese bio of Szeto Fai:
English profile of Afai
SCMP article about Afai winning big Australian orders:
Szeto Fai’s grandson Antony Szeto is a movie director and directed the first featured length CGI film in HK – DragonBlade back in 2005: