Shouson CHOW [1861-1959] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Shouson CHOW [1861-1959]

Birthplace (town, state): 
Wong Chuk Hang San Wai
Cause of death: 
Natural Casues

Sir Shouson Chow was born in Wong Chuk Hang San Wai, a previously walled village at the base of current day Shouson Hill. It is now a shanty town/town house area. His father was the effective mayor of this village and also a compadre of the Canton Hong Kong Steamship co. His father was a well known local figure, who helped Charles Elliot post the first official proclomation of Hong Kong Island.

Chow was part of a group of Qing sponsored Chinese students that studied in the USA. He attended Andover (graduated in 1880) and later attended Colombia University. Following this, he joined the Qing civil service. In 1881, he joined the Korean Customs service under General Yuan Shi-kai. He became the the president of the China Merchant Steam Navigation Company of Tientsin from 1897-1903. And later, the managing director the Peiking-Mukden railway up to 1907. He held a position of Trade Superintendent and counseler of foreign affairs in Newchwang up until 1911. After the revoloution in 1911, he left the government service and continued in various business positions

He came back to Hong Kong, holding various government and private business positions. Most notably, he founded the Bank of East Asia in 1918, was appointed to the Sanitary board 1922 and became the first Chinese to serve on the legislative council. At this point he was knighted. Chow was a leader of the Chinese Cooperative Council in the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, but received no reprocussions upon repatriation. 

He remained a prominent figure until his death in 1959 at the age of 97. Shouson Hill is named after him.