Mr. Lau Chor Tak (1923-2017) was the epitome of a self-made businessman. He was principled and determined, and his success was gained from his unrelenting efforts. His prudent dedication and commitment was an example to young people.
Mr. Lau Chor Tak was a prominent figure in Hong Kong’s business community. He was also well known for his generous philanthropy. Mr. Lau was a native of Chaoyang in Guangdong province. He was born in 1923 in Jinxi Township of Chaoyang County. He came from a poor family. As a boy, he worked all day to help his family make ends meet, but he also had drive and always made time for self-improvement. When he was 15, he left his village to seek opportunities in Hong Kong. That was nearly 80 years ago!
When Mr. Lau first arrived in Hong Kong, he worked as an apprentice in a trading company. He started on the bottom rung of the ladder; his pay was low and life was a struggle. Through diligence, reliability, and his willingness to learn, Mr. Lau’s efforts were recognized by his employer, who entrusted him with more responsibilities.
Upon the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Mr. Lau returned to his village. During this time, he experienced innumerable hardships, including famine, drought, and the ravages of war. With perseverance, he survived these ordeals. After the war in 1946, Mr. Lau returned to Hong Kong to seek out business opportunities. His first venture was a fabric steaming factory, a joint investment with friends. In 1969, he moved on to cotton yarn trading, founding Tak Kee Cotton Yarn Company Limited in Kowloon City. Subsequently, Mr. Lau established Fung Shing Land Investment, a real estate business. Mr. Lau operated with honesty and ethical principles. His motto was ‘small profits, quick turnover’. In his own words, ‘if other people were making 20 dollars per trade, I was only making five.’ He had a hands-on approach in all aspects of his business, making calls to build personal relationships with each and every client himself.
For more than half a century, Mr. Lau has been a respected figure in the business community. He has built up an excellent reputation and earned high praise from clients, gaining universal respect and support from those in the industry. Mr. Lau’s success was built on unremitting effort, persevering spirit and honest business practices. Mr. Lau was the embodiment of the Lion Rock spirit of perseverance and grit in striving for success. A true philanthropist, Mr. Lau has long demonstrated his genuine concern for society. His personal motto was ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’. He consistently helped and supported the old and needy in his hometown since his youth. He was particularly passionate about promoting and advancing education. Mr. Lau served as Honorary President of the Federation of Hong Kong Chiu Chow Community Organizations. He also served as Director of the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon, and held positions in various other community serving organizations. Over the years, he has lent an active helping hand in setting up schools in underprivileged areas in China, such as Jiangxi and Ningxia. Mr. Lau has bestowed generously towards Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), and served as Honorary Permanent President of the HKBU Foundation. He also established scholarship for mainland students at The University of Hong Kong, and supported many other area universities. Mr. Lau was a devout Christian, dedicated to serving God. He was the elder of Swatow Baptist Church Kowloon City and had been its treasurer for decades. Mr. Lau was highly esteemed and loved by brothers and sisters in the church. Mr. Lau has taken an active interest in the development of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, providing financial support for numerous development projects. In 2013 Mr. Lau made a generous donation to establish the ‘Lau Chor Tak Distinguished Lecture on Global Economics and Finance’ at the Institute of Global Economics and Finance (IGEF) of CUHK. The annual lecture series invite prominent scholars and experts to visit Hong Kong, and deliver lectures on the latest development and research in global and Chinese finance as well as on related economic topics of public interest, in this way promoting scholarly exchange. In 2014, Mr. Lau and his wife made another generous gift in support of the University, donating a commercial property with parking space located in Kwun Tong, the revenue from which will be used for the development of IGEF. In appreciation of Mr. Lau’s support, CUHK named the Lecture Theatre 1 on the ground floor of the Yasumoto International Academic International Academic Park as ‘Lau Chor Tak Lecture Theatre’.
Despite the hardship and poverty he went through, Mr. Lau always had a content and thankful heart. He was blessed with a happy marriage and was surrounded by loving children and grandchildren.