Late 1800s, during the Qing Dynasty

Every story has a beginning, and TPC’s story began in the late 1800s, towards the end of the 20th century, during the Qing Dynasty.

  • Tsao Wa-Chang (1866 – 1929) observed that there were insufficient docks at the Huangpu River in Shanghai, which served as a gateway for foreign trade to China. The shallow waters of the Yangtze River also created challenges. Sailors and passengers of large foreign ships had to switch to small boats for landing. So, he acquired a small wooden boat and started his humble water transport business.
  • Once, Tsao Wa-Chang, the first-generation and founder of the Tsao family business, found a purse containing bills of lading and cargo titles, which were very important documents for the sailors. One of his passengers, a ship’s officer, left it behind. Acting with integrity, he returned it to their rightful owner.
  • With gratitude, the officer personally financed Tsao Wa-Chang towards his purchase a docking ship, which was the breakthrough for the family business. From this, the company grew and expanded from passenger transport to cargo transport.
  • The expanding Shanghai economy and improved train connections and docking harbours increased the volume of cargo transported, and the foundation of the family business became increasingly stable.
  • This is the start of the family business, which eventually traded using the name Tsao Pao Chee. Integrity and hard work were his values.