Charles Gesner van der Voort had started his career in Rotterdam, at Holland-China Trading Company (HCHC). In 1938, he went to Shanghai for the firm. The Japanese interned him, and most other Dutch nationals, from 1943-45. In camp, he met his wife Nancy and they married after the war. After a leave in The Netherlands, they returned to the Orient, where Charles continued to work for HCHC in Hong Kong.
This photo was found in the company archives, held by Stadsarchief Rotterdam. A Volkswagen Transporter, type 1, was used to transport goods from the harbour to a warehouse and to clients. Several products were advertised on the van: Pammastic paints, Mitchell, and Liebherr refrigerators.
HCHC had its offices in Alexandra Building.
Negatives developed and printed by Salon Photo Supply, 1 Yun Ping Road, Hong Kong.
The Stadarchief Rotterdam archives have the original print as well as the negative. It is interesting to see the differences: better lighting and details on the original print, what was cropped off the original print (notice the unusual facial expression of the the man in the right under corner). The Chinese text may help narrowing down the date of this photo. Any suggestions?
If you zoom in really close, you can see details like the company name of the Rolex reseller: Fung Leung Kee Watch Company. They still exist today: ""Fung Leung Kee Watch Company" was established since 1943, and has been operating for over 60 years. Located in a self-owned property at 157 Johnston Road, Central Wanchai, the company is a member of the Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades & Industries Ltd.
"Fung Leung Kee Watch Company" is the agent of various global and famous brand watches including Rolex, Tudor, Rado, Longines, Tissot, Gucci, Oris and Seiko which are welcomed for your precious selection."
<a href="http://fungleungkeewatch.com.hk/en/p2.htm" rel="noreferrer nofollow">fungleungkeewatch.com.hk/en/p2.htm</a>
1256 N.V. Internationale Crediet- en Handelsvereniging Rotterdam/C.V. en N.V. Wm H. Muller & Co. (Internatio-Muller N.V.) 1479 Foto's Holland China Trading Co in Sjanghai en Hong Kong.