Entering the 1960’s, Hong Kong was a city on the brink of transformational change. Half of its three million inhabitants were under 25, sampans filled the harbours, and rickshaws still plied the streets. The number of factories in the city had trebled in the preceding ten years, and Hong Kong’s low level colonial cityscape was being punctuated by the high-rise architecture that is its global signature today.

Inspired by these signs of change and identifying real estate as a prime area of growth, the owners of a small chemicals business acquired several land parcels in areas such as Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan. Before long, construction was under way, and by the end of this influential decade, their company Chinachem was developing industrial buildings for the thriving manufacturing industry, and creating homes for its growing workforce.

By 1970 Hong Kong’s population had grown by a third, and in response the Government began developing a series of satellite ‘new towns’, incentivizing the exchange of buildable land for higher ratios of agricultural land. Capitalizing on this opportunity Chinachem invested heavily in farmland, later trading it for key sites in Sha Tin, Ma On Shan, Fan Ling, and Sheung Shui that they subsequently developed into large scale community housing.

Hong Kong’s transformation begins in earnest

Tsuen Wan New Town, 1962

  • Selling a vision of the future in the 1960s: Chinachem creates industrial buildings for the thriving manufacturing industry

  • A stylish sales brochure of the Wah Tat Industrial Centre: Most industrial buildings under Chinachem carry the Chinese character "Wah"

  • Sha Tin takes shape in the 1970s

  • Chinachem puts greater focus on development of commercial premises in the 1980s. Image depicts its signature building One Chinachem Central

  • Bold ambition in the 1990s, envisioning the tallest skyscraper, the Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan

  • Iconic residential building, The Lily in Repulse Bay,
    unveiled in 2010

Under the leadership of Teddy and Nina Wang, the company grew into a major player in the city’s vibrant property market, creating local landmarks such as the Chinachem Golden Plaza, Hollywood Centre, and Shatin Lucky Plaza. The couple’s bold ambitions were reflected in their proposal in the 1990's to create the world’s tallest skyscraper in the heart of Tsuen Wan. Height of the skyscraper was adjusted subsequently, due to plans for Hong Kong’s new airport. In 2006 the iconic Nina Tower opened. Its twin towers house Chinachem’s own 1,600 room hotel, convention centre, 17 floors of grade A offices, Nina Park, and large high-quality shopping mall.

The approach of creating, nurturing, and enhancing communities was championed by Chinachem’s Nina Wang, a keen philanthropist. Her passions led to the creation of a charitable foundation that has as its aim, improving the lives of the city’s residents through its philanthropic activities. The company’s expansion into hospitality commenced in 2005 with the opening of L’hotel Causeway Bay Harbour View and continues to today with the recently re-branded group of Nina Hotels, now with a portfolio of 3,000 suites and rooms in eight Hong Kong locations.

With 60 years of remarkable growth and diversification already under its belt, Chinachem is now focusing its attention on how its businesses can best serve the communities within which it operates. The organisation’s unique structure, being neither publicly nor family held, allows the company to focus on creating sustainable and accessible developments to enhance the health and welfare of the city’s residents, whilst creating value to be shared with the community.

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