Chinese Business History Webinar

Forgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

2023-11-24 09:002023-11-24 10:00Asia/Hong_KongForgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

Chinese Business History Webinar

Forgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

Professor Elizabeth Sinn
(Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, HKU)

Date/Time: November 24, 2023, 9:00-10:00 am (HKT) | November 23, 2023, 8:00-9:00 pm (EST)
Language: English
Venue: via Zoom
Enquiry: (Email) ihss@hku.hk

    2023-11-24 09:002023-11-24 10:00Asia/Hong_KongForgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

    Chinese Business History Webinar

    Forgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

    Professor Elizabeth Sinn
    (Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, HKU)

    Date/Time: November 24, 2023, 9:00-10:00 am (HKT) | November 23, 2023, 8:00-9:00 pm (EST)
    Language: English
    Venue: via Zoom
    Enquiry: (Email) ihss@hku.hk

      Overview

      Title:

      Forgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

      Speaker:

      Professor Elizabeth Sinn (Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, HKU)

      Date/Time:

      November 24, 2023, 9:00-10:00 am (HKT) | November 23, 2023, 8:00-9:00 pm (EST)

      Venue:

      Via Zoom

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      Title:

      Forgotten Pioneer: The On Tai Insurance Company Limited of Hong Kong (1877-1900)

      Speaker:

      Professor Elizabeth Sinn (Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, HKU)

      Date/Time:

      November 24, 2023, 9:00-10:00 am (HKT) | November 23, 2023, 8:00-9:00 pm (EST)

      Venue:

      Via Zoom

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      Abstract

      Though the On Tai was a landmark as the first Chinese-owned and operated insurance company in Hong Kong (and one of the very first in China), and the first to be incorporated as a limited joint-stock company under the Company Ordinance, it is unknown to historians today. Even the Registry of Companies, established in 1865, has no record of its existence. Yet, its share price was quoted in the newspapers alongside other corporations such as The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Its scale of operation was vast, with agents in many ports along the Chinese coast, in southeast Asia, Japan, California, Australia and even Saghalien in Russia. San Francisco was its key sources of income, where it not only insured goods to China and Hong Kong, but also to Mexico and South America. It is time to recover On Tai’s history for a better understanding of Hong Kong's economic and business environment in the 19th century, and of the extraordinary men who made things happen.

      ABOUT THE SPEAKER

      Elizabeth Sinn has written on many aspects of Hong Kong history.  Before her retirement she was Deputy Director of the Centre of Asian Studies (HKU) and is today an Honorary Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. She is currently an Expert Advisor to the Hong Kong Museum of History and works closely with the Hong Kong Chronicles project.  Having served on the Antiquities Advisory Board and the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, she was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2004 for her contribution to heritage conservation. She led the “Hong Kong Memory Project” (2006-2013) to create a multi-media website for materials on Hong Kong’s history, culture and heritage. Of her many books, her own favourite is Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration, and the Making of Hong Kong (2013); her latest publication, “(Almost) Making Money in South China: Ho Amei and his Silver Mountain Dream”, (Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 62 (2022), pp. 7-35), tells the history of the silver mine on Lantau Island, Hong Kong, another pioneering enterprise that is largely forgotten.

      About the Series

      This monthly webinar series features the newest research on the history of Chinese business and entrepreneurship. If you have any questions about this webinar series or would be interested in giving a talk, please contact Dr. John D. Wong  (jdwong@hku.hk) or Dr. Ghassan Moazzin (gmoazzin@hku.hk).

      POSTER