Yew Sang Hong (耀生行) – distributor of electrical appliances and equipment
York Lo: Yew Sang Hong (耀生行) – distributor of electrical appliances and equipment
Left: 1958 ad for Yew Sang Hong listing brands of refrigerators carried by the firm and promoting monthly installment plans for radios starting at $13 and refrigerators starting at $50. (WKYP, 1958-5-14); Right: 1966 ad for Yew Sang Hong with pictures of appliances carried by the firm (WKYP, 1966-1-24)
Flipping through the pages of Wah Kiu Yat Po (referred to as WKYP in sources of my articles) in the 1950s and 1960s, one can always find advertisements for Yew Sang Hong, a distributor of electrical appliances and equipment operating out of 20-22 King’s Road in North Point. In addition to ads, Wah Kiu Yat Po also ran educational articles on electrical appliances which featured pictures of products from Yew Sang Hong or quotes from the firm. Incorporated in 1954, the firm was controlled by the family of Shum Wai-yauCBE (岑維休,1897-1985), the founder of Wah Kiu Yat Po who was chairman of its board and was managed by his third son, Shum Yau-sang (岑佑生), who served as managing director and chief of engineering for the firm.
Yau-sang attended Wah Yan College and the Far East Flying School and studied radio engineering in the UK at Southhampton University and Northern Polytechnic and became a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers before returning to HK in 1957(WKYP, 1957-2-23) A director of Wah Kiu Yat Po, he leveraged his technical expertise and helped his older brother Shum Choi-sang (岑才生,1922-2016) install wireless walkie-talkies in the paper’s news vans, one of first media outlets to do so.
Yew Sang Hong carried appliances such as the Frigidaire, GE and LEC brands of refrigerators, Philips brand of radios, water heaters, television sets and washing machines. Aside from electrical appliances, Yew Sang Hong was also a distributor of advanced electrical equipment and acted as Far East sole agent for Mullary Equipment Ltd and R.E.E. from the UK. In 1959, D. Ghosh, the owner of Associated Airworks which operated out of the Calcutta Airport visited Yew Sang Hong in HK to discuss purchase of 20 wireless communications equipment for air traffic. (WKYP, 1959-3-12) In 1960, the physics department of Chung Chi College purchased precision pulse generators and precision oscilloscopes from the UK through Yew Sang Hong. (WKYP, 1960-2-25)
Picture of Philips radios displayed at Yew Sang Hong in 1959 in an article explaining different home appliances (WKYP, 1959-9-20)
In November 1969, two burglars tried to break into the store but fortunately the alarm was activated and one of the five staff (a fellow clansman of the Shum family) who slept at the store confronted the burglar and was injured. (WKYP, 1969-11-19)
The Shum family meeting up with former Governor Grantham for lunch in London in 1962. Right to left: Shum Wai-yau, Shum Yau-sang, Governor Grantham, Shum Suk-yuen (岑淑婉, sister in law of Sir Q.W. Lee), Shum Kong Fook-to, Shum Shui-sang, Mrs. Woo Wai-man (胡惠民夫人)(WKYP, 1962-8-14)
Family and friends of Y.S. Shum seeing him off at Kai Tak Airport in 1952 (WKYP, 1952-7-5)
Shum Yau-sang and his brother Shum Sui-sang (岑瑞生) and sister Shum Suk-kuen (岑淑娟) were all founding members of the Conservancy Association (長春社) in the early 1970s. He passed away in May 2012. Today, Yew Sang Hong Ltd is still a live company but does not appear to be active in the electrical business.
Oral History Interview of Shum Choi-sang on the history of Wah Kiu Yat Po:
This article was first posted on 16th October 2020.
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