Wang Hing was almost certainly a created name – not uncommon in eastern culture – intended to encourage good luck, rather than a name of the owner of the business. The firm was established in Canton in 1854, by the wealthy Lo merchant family.
The company Wang Hing & Co.’s success as an exporter of silver was surely affected by the recent colonization of Hong Kong by the British, which had taken place 1842. Simultaneously, the Treaty of Nanking was established, which would aid China’s export trade all over the world, though being especially favourable to the British and America.
Previously, Chinese silver had been created largely in the same style as Georgian British silverware. Suddenly the abundance of export trade to the Western world mean that Chinese export silver began to feature traditional Chinese motifs, patterns and symbols. This would prove to be popular with Western retailers and consumers, as the novelty of this new style of silverware made the pieces fashionable.
In the 1940s, the invasion of Hong Kong by the Japanese lead to civil unrest and large scale air raids and bombings, which not only saw the closure of the Wang Hing & Co. flagship shopfront, but also saw the demise of the business as a whole, as the family and goods were separated by the attack on their country.
Today, due to the company’s long history and reputation for both quality and traditional Chinese style, Wang Hing & Co. is the most sought after and collectable Chinese Export Silver maker which exists.