As The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd celebrates its 150th anniversary, the history of its founding family, the Kadoories, presents an inspiring vision for success and an enduring commitment to philanthropy.
It all began in 1880s, when two youthful members of a wealthy Baghdad family travelled East in search of business opportunities. The elder brother, Ellis, settled in Hong Kong, while the younger brother, Elly, moved to Shanghai. Over the following decades, Sir Elly gradually built a business empire focused on Hong Kong and Shanghai – and together the brothers also made the Kadoorie name synonymous for its generosity towards people in need.
The events of World War II led the Kadoorie family, now under the leadership of Sir Elly's sons, Sir Lawrence Kadoorie (later Lord Kadoorie) and his brother Horace (later Sir Horace), to concentrate on their Hong Kong interests, notably China Light and Power and Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns The Peninsula Hotels brand. Their philanthropic activities also flourished, supporting business, welfare and educational institutions to help the people of Hong Kong, plus various charitable projects across Asia.
Indeed, the history of the Kadoorie family is entwined with the history of Hong Kong. The family, its businesses and charitable works have witnessed a turbulent century of colonialism, war, industrialisation and reunification with China. China Light and Power, for example, met Hong Kong's rising demand for electricity while supporting the industrial boom of the mid-20th century. Meanwhile, The Peninsula Hotels and Peak Tram stand as enduring icons of Hong Kong's status as one of the world’s most influential gathering points for leisure and business travellers.
Hong Kong has been home to the Kadoorie family for over 135 years. The family has been warmly welcomed, and provided with an opportunity to prosper. The Kadoories have always believed in making a profound contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of their fellow citizens in return for the generous opportunities afforded to them.Today, the business and charitable activities of the Kadoorie family continue to thrive under the direction of Sir Michael Kadoorie, Lord Kadoorie's son, ably supported by other members of the family. As we celebrate HSH’s 150th anniversary, the next chapter of the Kadoorie story awaits to be written.