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The trade card of Hwamer | 1924-1925 | Hwamer Company; Hwamer Company (Hong Kong) | trade card | paper | 11.3 x 7.5cm


華美公司的貿易卡 | 1924至1925年 | 華美公司;華美公司(香港) | 貿易卡 | 紙張 | 11.3 x 7.5釐米

This is the trade card of Hwamer Company, which was also named Wah Mee Co.[1] According to The Chinese Street, the official catalogue of the Hong Kong Section, and existing photos, Hwamer occupied shop number 14 (shared with Hip Fat Ho). Hwamer was a manufacturer and dealer of “Swatow drawn work” (embroidery, lace and other textile products), artificial flowers, ivory and pewterware. Wu Tong-yong was its representative at Wembley Park.[2]

The card indicates that Hwamer’s headquarter was located on Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong and had branches in Swatow (in southern China, now known as Shantou) and the United States. The company also had a close relationship with the Chinese community in Australia. Wu Tong-yong owned a Hwamer Company franchise together with Lin Tsu-yau in Sydney in the late 1920s. Its area of business included the production and import of soft goods and wares from Asia to Australia.[3] Record shows that Hwamer also imported flour from Hong Kong.[4] In 1933, Lin Tsu-yau, Gock Chew (the founder of Wing On, which was a food importer in Sydney and which operated a department store in Hong Kong) and some others incorporated Eastern Industries “to acquire the business carried on under the style of Hwamer & Co.”[5]

Fu Shang-lin was the manager of Hwamer in London during the British Empire Exhibition. He was born into a family of Christian ministers in Swatow in 1902. After moving to Hong Kong, he became a member of the CGCC and the honorary secretary of the Hongkong Chinese Merchant’s League. Fu stayed in Britain for postgraduate studies after the Exhibition ended. He was active in debating Chinese affairs during his time in Britain, through his involvement in the Central Union of Chinese Students in Great Britain and Ireland (as honorary secretary, 1925-1926), the Royal Asiatic Society (as a member), the London-based periodical Chinese Students (as editor), and he also gave lectures. He returned to China in 1929 and was appointed professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University in 1930.[6]

The techniques of drawn work were introduced to Swatow by American missionaries in the 19th century.[7] The story of Hwamer illustrates how new technologies and ideas influenced China, and how Chinese communities established their overseas social and business networks, of which Hong Kong was one of the hubs.

這張貿易卡來自華美公司(譯音;Hwamer Company,亦名為 Wah Mee Co.)。[1] 根據香港展區的官方目錄《中華街》(The Chinese Street)及現存照片,華美與協發號分租店舖14號。華美是「汕頭抽紗」(包括刺繡品、蕾絲及其他布製品)、人造花、象牙及白鑞器具的生產商及經銷商。胡彤勇( 譯音 ; Wu Tong Yong)是該公司駐溫布萊的代表。[2]

貿易卡指華美的總部位於香港皇后大道中,並於現今南中國的汕頭一帶及美國設有分公司。華美與澳洲的華人社群亦關係密切。胡彤勇在1920年代尾與林梓猶(譯音; Lin Tsu Yau)在悉尼成立一家同樣名為Hwamer的公司,業務包括生產及從亞洲進口布製品及器具到澳洲。[3]有紀錄指這家公司亦曾從香港進口麵粉。[4]在1933年,林梓猶及郭樂(永安公司的創辦人;永安在悉尼從事食物進口業務,在香港則經營百貨公司)等人開設一家名為 Eastern Industries的公司,「以收購華美公司的業務」。[5]

傅尚霖( D.S.L.Fu)是華美公司在英京賽會期間,派駐倫敦的經理。傅尚霖在1902年生於汕頭一個天主教教牧家庭。抵港後,他成為華商總會的會員,並擔任香港華商聯盟(the Hongkong Chinese Merchant’s League)的義務秘書。博覽會結束後,傅尚霖留在英國完成研究院課程。在英國期間,他亦積極討論中國事務,包括參與不列顛及愛爾蘭中國學生中央聯盟(Central Union of Chinese Students in Great Britain and Ireland義務秘書;1925至1926年)、皇家亞洲學會(作為會員)、在倫敦出版的期刊《中國學生》(Chinese Students; 擔任編輯)以及進行演講。他在1929年返回中國,並於1930年被聘為國立清華大學的社會學教授。[6]

抽紗技術在19世紀隨美國的傳教士傳入汕頭。[7] 華美公司的故事,清楚說明歐美的科技及思想如何影響中國,以及各地的華人社群如何在海外建立社會及商業網絡──而香港是樞紐之一。

[1] South China Morning Post, February 24, 1928.

[2] The Chinese Street.

[3] Dun’s Gazette for New South Wales, September 19, 1927.

[4] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List, January 20, 1933.

[5] Dun’s Gazette for New South Wales, July 17, 1933.

[6] The China Weekly Review, April 11, 1931.

[7] Wordie, J. (2019). “How American missionaries gave southern China its Swatow lace industry”, South China Morning Post, January 5, 2019.

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