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Great China Match Plant

matchworker.jpg Great China Match was founded by the Shanghai king of matches, Lau Hung Sang (劉鴻生), in the 1930s. Lau realized the need to move his capital overseas due to chaotic situations in China. Hong Kong was a British colony enjoying relatively peace. In a dramatic episode, he found Peng Chau. Also, the residents in the larger island Cheung Chau feared the danger of a match plant and refused Lau's original plan to open a plant there. Lau changed his plan and decided to build the Great China Match Plant in Peng Chau.

matchplaque1.jpgIn the 30s, the kiln industries were on the decline. The lime kiln in North Bay was closed down. Residents had become unemployed. Lau bought the land and marked it with boundary stones (界碑), some of which can still be found in the vicinity. Because of the unemployed residents, the Peng Chau committee members did not oppose the dangerous industry in Peng Chau. The person-in-charge of the match plant promised all the safety measures and let residents take the jobs before they were offered to other islanders. Great China Match Plant formally started production in 1939. It was the largest match plant in South East Asia.

Great China Match Plant was also the largest match plant in Hong Kong. In the 40s, the plant employed 1000-1200 people directly and indirectly through out-sourced works. The products were exported to South East Asia. However, the advent of the cigarette lighter made the large match production obsolete and non-viable. The production of plants in South East Asia countries was gradually coming online. Great China Match Plant ended its production on Peng Chau at the end of 1970s.

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