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Hongs

The Hongs were major business houses in Hong Kong with significant influence on patterns of consumerism, trade, manufacturing and other key areas of the economy.

Origin

Prior to the establishment of Hong Kong, the name "Hong" was given to major business houses under the Chinese word. The Thirteen Factories are the original merchants in China under the Qing government.

Historically, the factories faded before they had any direct effect on Hong Kong's economic birth. Hong Kong generally begin counting the Hongs from the first generation of western or foreign companies, since they provided direct financial backings during the Colonial Hong Kong era.

Jardine Matheson had a Shanghai headquarters on the Bund, just south of the British Consulate. The headquarter was called "the Ewo Hong", or "Ewo House", after the Cantonese pronunciation of the company's Chinese name (yi wo). However, this is likely not the original source of the name, since the British have documented the term "Hong" during the times of the Thirteen Factories.

The term is most often used in reference to Colonial Hong Kong companies directly. In modern day sense, the term is loosely used to describe influential companies.

History

Prior to any banking institutions, besides small foreign bank branches, the three firms that financed most of Hong Kong's economic activities were the Jardine's, Dent's and the Russell's. Hence, most sources credit them as the original three.

The Hongs began during China's Qing dynasty, and grew in influence and power as Hong Kong separated from Imperial China in the early 19th century. The original entities were mostly founded by westerners, namely British settlers within the Colonial Hong Kong community. The head of companies were referred to as tai-pans.

Most firms became true multinational corporations, and management consisted mostly of European expatriates.

By 1997 many of the hongs had diversified their holdings and shifted their headquarters offshore away from Hong Kong to avoid any potential communist party takeovers.


(Source Wikipedia)