Rough Start for First-generation Plastic Factory Owners

With the exception of rich Shanghainese industrialists, most Hong Kong-based toy manufacturers in the 1950s came from a humble background. Constrained by a lack of fund, technology and experience, they struggled to keep their business survived. Lam tried his best to help his industrial partners to solve their cash flow problem, so that they could get through dire situations. In the early days, the manufacturers usually raised money from their relatives before resorting to borrow from load sharks. They spent the money on running their businesses and sending their children abroad for school so that the children might come home and set up their own enterprises as well. Lam cited the examples of four of his industrial partners to show how early Hong Kong industrialists were zealous and were reliant upon each other to tackle the difficulties with limited cash flow.
1) When Lam was working at Yuen Hing Hong Co. Ltd, a factory owner, named Tong, established a factory on Wai Ching Street with several Three-Quarter Ounce Injection Moulding Machines. Tong once purchased 100 pounds of materials from Yuen Hing Hong but was not able to pay the balance of 300 dollars on time. Lam lent his whole month’s salary to Tong to pay for the materials without the knowledge of his own boss.2) The father of Wo Foo Group’s Chairman Joseph Lee came to Hong Kong from Ningbo, and built a hut out of iron boards at the bottom of Lee Garden. There, he boiled rosin in barrels and sold them to mahjong houses.3) The father of the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries Cliff Sun arrived in Hong Kong from Ningbo after the war, and rented half of a shop on Shantung Road, where he worked as a mechanic. He did not have the resource to install a telephone.4) A certain factory owner from Tianjin, who worked at Dah Chung Manufacturing Co. Ltd before, settled down on Yu Chau Street and installed four sets of Three-Quarter Ounce Injection Moulding Machines. These moulding machines could only produce products below the weight of 0.75 ounce. Once he was not able to pay the rent of 500 dollars, and Lam lent him 2 months’ salary so that he could get through the hard time.

Company Forward Winsome Industries Limited
Subject Industry
Duration 13m11s
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. LKF-LT-SEG-032
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