Chao Kuang Piu

Chao Kuang Piu
Born(1920-11-24)24 November 1920
Died12 March 2021(2021-03-12) (aged 100)
Hong Kong, China
NationalityHong Kong
TitleFounder of Dragonair
ChildrenSusana Chou
Silas K. F. Chou
Ronald Kee-Young David Chao
AwardsSilver Bauhinia Star

Chao Kuang Piu SBS (Chinese: 曹光彪; pinyin: Cáo Guāngbiāo; Cantonese Yale: Chou4 Gwong1 Biu1; 24 November 1920 – 12 March 2021) was a Hong Kong-based Chinese industrialist, sometimes referred to as Hong Kong's "Wool Magnate" given his involvement in Hong Kong's garment industry. He was one of the co-founders of Dragonair, Hong Kong's first Chinese-owned airline, which was subsequently acquired by Cathay Pacific.[1]

Chao was a recipient of Hong Kong's Silver Bauhinia Star award in 2002.


Chao was born on 24 November 1920 in Shanghai.[2] His father was a successful businessman in Shanghai. The family traced its ancestry to Ningbo in the Zhejiang province in China.[3] At the age of 17, he had to quit studies when his mother died and his father was critically ill.[4]

In 1950, Chao went to British Hong Kong to set up his business by importing wool-spinning equipment from England and starting his wool-spinning factory.[4] He set up the garment manufacturing and trading company Novel Enterprises in 1964.[3] His career has been noted for growing the then nascent Hong Kong textile industry.[5] He expanded his operations overseas into France, Germany, Portugal and the United States through the 1970s. His companies emerged as one of the world's largest wool enterprises.[3] Chao was one of the first few investors in Mainland China, setting up spinning mills, when the Chinese Economic Reforms led by Deng Xiaoping started in late 1970s.[3] He was referred to as "Wool magnate" or "King of Cotton Yarn" given his success in the industry.[6][3][7]

Chao was a co-founder of Dragonair airlines in 1985, with shipping magnate Pao Yue-Kong and Hong Kong-based businessman Henry Fok, along with investments from China Merchants Group and China Resources. The carrier was Hong Kong's first Chinese-owned airline.[3] The company was subsequently sold to Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific in 2006.[6] The carrier was subsequently renamed Cathay Dragon in 2016, and ended operations in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]

Chao was the honorary chairman of the Wharton School's Global Alumni Forum in Hong Kong. He was also the Chairman of Novel Enterprises Ltd.[8] Some of his other positions included being the chairman of the Board of Novel Enterprises, chairman of Dragonair and member of the Hong Kong Consultative & Selection Committee. He was also the honorary consul of the Republic of Mauritius in Hong Kong.[6] He served as an academic advisor to the universities of Tsinghua and Ningbo, and was an honorary professor at Zhejiang University.[2][9]

Personal life[edit]

Chao's daughter, Susana Chou, is the first President of the Legislative Assembly of Macau, Macau SAR, while his son Silas K. F. Chou, is a director of Novel Enterprises which owned Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors.[2] His granddaughter is socialite Veronica Chou.[10] Chao's eldest son, Ronald Kee-Young Chao (Chinese: 曹其鏞, born 1939), is also a director of Novel Enterprises and founded the Bai Xian Scholarship program in Hong Kong.[11][12]

Chao died on 12 March 2021 at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. He was aged 100.[3][4][6]

Honors and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "曹光彪获颁美国"沃顿勋章" 海外私企内地探路人_财富人物_财经纵横_新浪网". Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biography of K.P. Chao : The Wharton Global Alumni Forum-Hong Kong". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hong Kong's Dragonair founder, 'Wool Magnate' Chao Kuang-piu dies at age 100: report | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Founder of Dragonair Chao Kuang-piu dies aged 101". 點新聞-dotdotnews. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Entrepreneur Series". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Chao Kuang Piu, founder of Dragon Air, passes away at the age of 101". Archived from the original on 10 May 2021.
  7. ^ "曹光彪前孫婿燒炭亡 - 20210102 - 港聞". 明報新聞網 - 每日明報 daily news (in Traditional Chinese). Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Welcome from the Honorary Chairman : The Wharton Global Alumni Forum-Hong Kong". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  9. ^ "香港富豪3.5亿美元捐哈佛 下一笔捐南加州大学_新闻_腾讯网". Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  10. ^ Sebag-Montefiore, Clarissa (24 April 2014). "Heiress Veronica Chou on her Beijing 'courtyard house in the sky'". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Honorary Chairman - Bai Xian Asia Institute". Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  12. ^ Jing, Sijia (22 November 2013). "Businessman Ronald Chao funds Sino-Japanese student exchanges". Retrieved 17 March 2021.

External links[edit]