Mr. Lim Por-yen
Mr. Lim Por-yen (1914-2005) was one of Hong Kong’s most well-known industrialists and philanthropists. He was the founder of the Lai Sun Group, and the permanent honorary chairman of Asia Television Limited. Before the return of Hong Kong to China, he was appointed a Hong Kong Affairs Advisor and a member of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Preparatory Committee and Election Committee.
Mr. Lim was a native of Chaoyang, Shantou City, Guangdong. His father, Mr. Lim Hin-chee, was a well-known factory owner and banker, who moved to Hong Kong in the 1930’s to carry on his business. Mr. Lim was brought to Hong Kong by his father, and studied in Munsang College, Kowloon City. He later entered a private school and studied classical Chinese literature.
In 1935, on his father’s instructions, Mr. Lim returned to Shantou to start learning how to do business. He first worked in a money-exchange shop operated by his uncle. Later, he joined Kai Sing Bank, starting at the most junior level. He worked very hard, and kept on studying at night, developing his life-long characteristics of industry and thrift.
During World War II, Mr. Lim returned to Hong Kong. His first major area of activity was the clothing industry and, in 1945, he set up the Sing Fook Knitting Factory. In 1947, he set up the Lai Sun Garment Manufacturing Company. By the middle of the 1960’s, Lai Sun Garment was making a key contribution to Hong Kong’s clothing industry, with its products reaching not only South-East Asia, but also Africa and the Middle East. At that time, fellow manufacturers gave Mr. Lim the title "Africa King". Soon after that, Lai Sun Garment’s business expanded to England and America, and the Company became Hong Kong’s top garment manufacturer.
The 1970’s was an era of rapid economic development for Hong Kong. Lai Sun Garment joined the list of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s public companies in 1972. In 1980’s, Mr. Lim’s business widened to cover retail, properties in China and Hong Kong, hotels and the mass media. His enterprises included Crocodile Garments, Asia Television Limited and the Media Asia Group. Today, the Lai Sun Group has developed into an internationally diversified conglomerate.
Besides working diligently and eschewing holidays, Mr. Lim had never forgotten to give back what he had earned to the community. So he was very keen on charity work and donated a great deal of money for building schools and promoting education. In the mid-1980’s, he donated generously to help build a number of primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, Shantou, Chaozhou, and Zhongshan. The Shantou Lim Por-yen International Conference & Exhibition Center (www.gdsticec.com) is known internationally for its facilities. In 2003, Mr. Lim provided funds to build a major library in Shantou .In Hong Kong, the Chiu Yang Por Yen Primary School and the Yan Chai Hospital Lim Por Yen Secondary School are well known landmarks in Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan.
Mr. Lim also paid a lot of attention to his home town people’s health and standard of living. In 2000, Mr. Lim personally inspected the water supply in Chaoyang. After tasting the well water, he immediately made a large donation to improve the local water supply.
Mr. Lim was so enthusiastic in donating money for building schools and hospitals that he was made an Honorary Citizen of Guangzhou, Shantou, Kunshan and Xiamen. In 2003, following the SARS attack in Hong Kong, he quickly donated money to the Education/Research Foundation of Hong Kong University (HKU). Later, he contributed to the Lim Por-yen Athletic Foundation of HKU to promote the work of the “Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole”. As a token of appreciation, HKU bestowed an Honorary Fellowship on Mr. Lim in 2003.
Mr. Lim also donated money to the Polytechnic University Educational Foundation and to the Eye Genetics Research Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Over the course of his life, Mr. Lim’s donations to China and Hong Kong amounted to over HK$700 million. He was a highly respected man and was addressed by the citizens of Hong Kong, well-known businessmen, media professionals, social workers and friends as “Lim Bo (Uncle Lim)”.
Mr. Lim’s boy-hood in Shantou City
Munsang College, Kowloon City
The Memorial Hall of Lim Por-yen Middle School, Shantou City
Lim Por-yen Film Theatre, Hong Kong
The donation ceremony of Shantou Public Library
Yan Chai Hospital Lim Por-yen Secondary School, Hong Kong
Chiu Yang Por Yen Primary School, Hong Kong