1) Silas Aaron Hardoon
In 1868 Silas Aaron Hardoon traveled to the city of Shanghai (China), where he was employed by David Sassoon & Company as a rent collector and watchman. He quickly rose through the ranks of the company, displaying a talent for real estate. After leaving David Sassoon & Company in 1882 he tried to set up his own cotton trading company. After three years he gave up his business and joined E. D. Sassoon's and Company as their branch manager in Shanghai. The China land boom convinced Hardoon to leave the company in 1920. Shrewd investments, particularly in properties on Shanghai's "Fifth Avenue," Nanking Road, eventually made him one of that city's wealthiest inhabitants.
2) Sir Victor Sassoon
Businessman and hotelier, heir to a great fortune of a banking dynasty, which originated from Iraq and later expanded from Bagdad to Bombay and Shanghai.
He came to cosmopolitan Shanghai as a serious investor in real estate with an estimated capital of around (US) $85 mill.
Remember him because...
He initiated the real estate boom that transformed Shanghai into Paris of the East.
Within a decade, transformed the skyline of Shanghai. Worked with architects (mainly a Hong Kong Firm Palmer & Turner and a British architect George Leopold Wilson) and developers to build the first true skyscrapers in the Eastern Hemisphere.
3) Laszlo Hudec
Hungarian Slovak architect, Shanghai’s Master builder.
Remember him because …
He designed over 60 buildings in Shanghai between 1920s – 1930s, most considered icons till this day. The most famous are:Normandie Apartments - today's Wukang Mansion, The Park Hotel (in the picture above) , The Grand Theatre,The Moore Memorial Church.
4) Alexandre Leonard
5) Liu Hongsheng and his sons
Liu Hongsheng and some of his sons became politically influential, accepting appointments to high official posts and dealing in person with top leaders such as Chiang Kai-shek in the Nationalist government and Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in the People’s Republic. Even during two of the greatest upheavals in twentieth-century Chinese history – the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 and the Communist Revolution of 1949 – the Lius retained high positions in China’s economic, social, and political life.
Remember them because
In the first half of the twentieth century, the Lius became one of China’s preeminent business families, presiding over an industrial empire that produced matches, woolens, cotton textiles, cement, and briquettes. Some of their popular businesses were the Shanghai Cement Company , Hong Kong Matchstick Factory and the China Bank of Enterprises.
6) Charlie Soong
Successful businessman through various business enterprises, including both the selling and printing of Bibles and the management of a flour mill.
In the 1890s, he established a friendship with a young Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Chinese Revolution that eventually brought down the last emperor of China and gave birth to modern republican government in China. Charlie secretly supported and financed Sun Yat-Sen and his revolutionary movement for two decades.
Still, despite his career, we remember him because ...
He was the father of China's famous Soong sisters : Soong Mei-ling (a.k.a. Madame Chiang Kai-shek), Soong Ai-ling , and Soong Qing-ling.
7) Big Eared Du - Du Yuesheng
The leader of Shanghai’s famous ‘the Green Gang’ , Du dominated Shanghai's opium and heroin trade in the 1930s, and secretly funded the political career of Chiang Kai-shek
His ‘duties’ included overseeing their operations in everything from gambling and opium dens, to prostitution and protection rackets.
Remember him because:
Despite his ‘gang’ career, Du also had a soft side that showed when he wrote off dozens of loans to his friends, founded a school for boys in the Former French Concession and served as president of the Chinese Red Cross during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
8) Chen Yi
Remember him because
He was the first communist mayor of Shanghai, who had enough guts to tame the chāi báidǎngs (the gangs) and eradicated prostitution, gambling, opium and organized crime.