Early Trading Years (1830 - 1869)


  • Jardine Matheson & Co (JM & Co) was formed in Canton in 1832 by Scots William Jardine and James Matheson.
  • Following the East India Company's loss of its monopoly on trade with China, Jardine Matheson sent the first private shipments of tea to England in 1834.
  • In 1836 the Firm promoted the founding of Hong Kong.


  • The first plots of land in Hong Kong were purchased in 1841 by JM & Co at East Point for £565.
  • Hong Kong was officially declared a colony in 1843 under the Treaty of Nanking, which had been signed in the previous year.
  • The Firm opened its office in Shanghai in 1844 when it purchased Lot No. 1. Further offices followed in Canton, Amoy, and Foochow.
  • The Chinese name 'Ewo' was adopted, meaning 'happy harmony'.
  • A widening range of imports to China was being handled, including coal, metals and machinery. 


  • In 1855, JM & Co inaugurated steamer cargo line from Calcutta to the Far East.
  • The Firm became the first foreign trading house to establish in Japan acquiring Lot No.1 in the first Yokohama land sale. Offices were later opened in Kobe, Nagasaki and other ports.


  • Jardines' trading activities began to be enhanced by the expansion of its shipping, banking and insurance interests.
  • The Firm began initiating a wide range of infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, such as the first inter-office telegraph in 1869.