CHUNG Po Yin (Hong Kong Baptist University), Moguls of the Chinese Cinema ¡V the Story of the Shaw Brothers in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, 1924-2002, English/18 pages, October 2005.


Business culture can be seen as a reflection of the times. In the 20th century, the classical rags-to-riches story of self-made entrepreneurs, like the Shaw brothers, was a profound signature of the era. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, with the establishment of the British colonial rule in Singapore, Hong Kong and in the foreign concessions of Shanghai, a commercial corridor had been carved out in maritime Asia. These areas gradually became the ¡§frontier par excellence¡¨ for economic penetration. Chinese family businesses, along with their extensive familial and cultural networks, had also carved niche in these frontier areas where local economic and legal institutions were either embryonic or ineffective. By spreading wealth across borders, these families had not only diversified their business risk, but had also built a mechanism to enforce business ties across border. As ˆmmigrˆms of China, many of these self-made Chinese merchants worked their way up through hard work, frugality, and strong personal networks in coastal China and Southeast Asia. The case of the Shaw brothers is evidence of this development.