Education background and starting his career

Cheng Chi Ping was born in 1931 in Shanghai, and moved to Hong Kong in 1948. He studied at the Lingnan University in Guangzhou. Because of the Korean War, he could not finish his study and went back to Hong Kong. His father knew some textile industrialists from Shanghai, so Cheng also decided to join the business, and became a trainee at a weaving factory owned by a friend of his father. The factory was located at Castle Peak Road, just opposite to Hong Kong Spinners, operated by a textile industrialist from Shanghai. The factory would buy cotton yarns from Hong Kong Spinners, and then made woven twill. Its fabrics were sold in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and the UK, etc, for the production of mainly khaki pants. The factory operated with day and night shifts. When Cheng was a trainee, he was on the job twelve hours a day. He learned how to operate the weaving machines and managed the workers from a foreman, and read books on textile during his free time.

After a year as a trainee, Cheng left the factory and went to Japan. As he wanted a career in the textile industry, he enrolled himself at the Kyoto Institute of Technology to study textile at its fibro-science faculty. Under a 4-year university programme there, Cheng studied general subjects including mathematics and history during the first two years. From Year Three onwards, he studied textile related subjects including fibro-mechanics and quality control, etc, with an emphasis on production technique. At that time, Japanese universities' textile courses were quite famous with a more comprehensive curriculum. Even silkworm farming and silk reeling were taught.

In 1959, Cheng graduated and returned to Hong Kong. The local textile industry was at its boom at that time. More spinners and textile factories were established, with as many as 34 spinners at one time. With the referral of his former boss, Cheng got a job as an administrator at Central Textiles (Hong Kong) Ltd. Central Spinners was the spinning division of Central Textiles. Cheng was assigned to the testing department (its quality control section now), and was responsible for the inspection of spun yarns and to learn the craft of spinning. The then factory director and engineer of Central Spinners were both from South Sea Textile Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The factory director and the engineer were once the engineer and supervisor of South Sea Textile respectively. They both had degrees in textile from universities in Shanghai. During the end of 1950s when Central Spinners was first established, its engineer had to oversee management technique and human resources, but not sales and marketing. When Cheng was a trainee, he followed the engineer and factory director to learn spinning and management. [Editor’s Note: Central Textiles (Hong Kong) Ltd first established its fabric business. Then in 1957 the company bought a piece of land in Tsuen Wan and built Central Spinners. Central Fabrics and Central Spinners were both operated under Central Textiles.]

Company Central Textiles (H.K.) LTD.
Subject Industry
Duration 15m4s
Language Cantonese
Material Type
Source Hong Kong Memory Project Oral History Interview
Repository Hong Kong Memory Project
Note to Copyright Copyright owned by Hong Kong Memory Project
Accession No. AY-CCP-SEG-001
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