Ki Chan Tea Company was founded in 1942 by Mr. Ng Kam Ki. His Alan tells the Ki Chan story:
ˇ§My father came from a poor family. He came to Hong Kong in clothes borrowed from a relative in a village. He worked as an apprentice without pay at Chan Chun Lan, the leading tea company in town back then. While his only income was the occasional tips he got from making deliveries, he also benefited from learning skills about tea trade. When he finally earned a sufficient amount to purchase his own clothes, he took off the borrowed set he was wearing, washed and ironed it, and had it returned to the owner in China in the best possible condition.
In order to equip himself with more skills, he managed to attend night school to learn some practical English. This later became a very handy qualification for his application for the position of postman in the British Crown Colony. As a postman assigned to the Happy Valley area, he met my mother who was from a respectable family of renouned scholars and lawyers. Due to the outbreak of war in China, she had to move to Hong Kong and work as a seamstress.
Subsequently, one of my mother's friend was the owner of the neighboring Nam Woo Fabrics Co. She let mother setup a small counter for her to sell cigarettes in her shop. Mother soon discovered that blending and re-wrapping imported tobacco brought in by British and American sailors was a lucrative business. Her business was going well for a while until she was robbed twice and all her money and merchandise were lost. The future looked particularly bleak during the Japanese invasion. Father gallantly came to the rescue and offered her protection through marriage.
After getting married, they began to make plans revolving around the idea of setting up a small business with minimum resources. As a first step, they rented half a shop on Johnston Road and started to sell tea on consignment basis.