Industrialization of China (1900 - 1939)


  • The early years saw the growth and development of business in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the treaty ports.
  • In 1906 JM & Co became a limited company.
  • In 1907 BCC signed a contract for the construction of the Kowloon to Canton Railway.


  • The heart of Jardine Matheson's business was in Shanghai and from 1912 the city was regarded as the Firm's headquarters.
  • The Firm began to expand into new products and services needed for the growing industrialization of China.


  • A cold storage company was set up in 1920 on the Shanghai river front under the Ewo banner.
  • In 1921 JM & Co's cotton mills in China were amalgamated to form Ewo Cotton Mills, while the Ewo Press and Packing Company served this industry.
  • 1923 saw the formation of the Jardine Engineering Company ('JEC') which played a large part in providing machinery, equipment and services for the growing infrastructure developments in Hong Kong and China.


  • Among JEC's early achievements were the installation of the first lift in mainland China in 1930 in Tientsin, and the first Schindler lift in Hong Kong in 1931. They also pioneered the ammonia-type air-conditioners and led in areas of heating and sanitation.
  • The conflict in China and the outbreak of World War II in 1939 marked the beginning of a decade of turmoil.