Chan Tseng-hsi, Founder of Hang Lung Group: Building up an Empire from Scratch to Create the “Firsts” and the “Only Ones” for Hong Kong

Hang Lung Stories
As a Shunde native, Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi migrated to Hong Kong from Guangzhou in 1948, where he started his career at Wing Lung Bank. In the early 1950s, Chan founded the Dah Loong Company with four partners – Mr. Lin Ruheng, Mr. Chan Taktai and two nephews of Mr. Kang Youwei – with a view to flexing their muscles in the real estate industry. Yet, Mr. Chan soon realized that his business philosophy was different from the two Mr. Kangs. Then, following the passing of Mr. Lin Ruheng and the departure of Mr. Chan Taktai from the company, Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi went on to pursue his own vision and founded Hang Lung on September 13, 1960.
The first Hang Lung headquarters was situated at the Yu To Sang Building in Central. As the business grew, the headquarters was relocated successively to the former Hang Seng Bank Headquarters Building, Hang Lung House in Sheung Wan, Hang Lung Center in Causeway Bay, and then to its current location at the Standard Chartered Bank Building in Central.
The very entrepreneurial Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi was the father of many creative ideas, leading to Hang Lung’s diversified business portfolio in its earliest days. Among the business arms in those days were many unrelated to property development. Many were the “firsts” and “only ones” for Hong Kong, like the arrival of Hello Kitty and the acquisition of sole agent status for Caltex gas in Hong Kong. In fact, the very first McDonald’s in Hong Kong opened in 1975 in the current location of Hang Lung Center in Causeway Bay.
From being an unknown banking employee to building up his own business empire, the achievements of Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi are the result of his earnest attitude, an observation shared by Mr. Andy Chan, Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi’s youngest son, who said, “My father once said, ‘Give me a broom and I’ll sweep cleaner than any other’.” It is this perseverance and earnest attitude that became the cornerstone of Hang Lung’s development.
At home, Mr. Chan Tseng-hsi loved to contemplate things and read books. “I remember he read the biography of Du Yuesheng and came across a poem. He told me to memorize it because it made a lot of sense,” Andy recounted.  
The poem went something like this, “A boat sails east, a boat sails west; each one’s course at the wind’s behest. With this message, the downstream boat regale: tomorrow’s winds might not blow full sail.”
In its early years, Hang Lung reaped a good harvest from its property development and other areas of business. Entering into the 1980s however, the company encountered a serious crisis. It was only through the perseverance and tenacious efforts of the then management team that the company was finally able to see the dust settle. Mr. Ronnie C. Chan became the Chairman of the Company in January 1991. It was also during this time that Ronnie began to look for development opportunities on the Mainland, and successfully purchased the two plots of land in Shanghai which were then developed into what is now known as Plaza 66 and Grand Gateway 66. Today, Hang Lung has extended its footprint to Shenyang, Jinan, Wuxi, Tianjin, Dalian, Kunming, Wuhan and Hangzhou.
Equipping oneself during the good times while actively looking for opportunities during the down cycles is Hang Lung’s key to emerging as the winner.

Mr. and Mrs. Chan Tseng-hsi