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Our History

Our history

Founded in the early 1830s, the Jardine Matheson Group has been one of Asia's most dynamic trading companies for nearly two centuries, adapting and reinventing itself in the face of both challenges and opportunities in order to survive and prosper. The Group has developed a market-leading portfolio of businesses and has grown and evolved with the communities in which it operates.

These historical chapters chronicle a selection of key milestones, major developments and achievements of a very unique company.

1832
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1832
1832

Jardine, Matheson & Co (JM & Co) was founded in Canton in July 1832 by Scots William Jardine and James Matheson. Following the end of the East India Company’s trading monopoly with China, Jardine Matheson sent its first private shipments of tea to England in 1834.

1839
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1839
1839

JM & Co saw the development potential of Hong Kong as a trading base and moved its operations temporarily from Macao to Hong Kong.

1841
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1841
1841

JM & Co purchased the first plots of land at East Point for £565. The Firm's Chinese name 'Ewo' – 'the state of happy harmony' – was adopted the following year.

1844
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1844
1844

JM & Co completed the move of its main office to Hong Kong and opened its office in Shanghai when it purchased Lot No. 1 in 1844. More offices were subsequently opened in Canton, Amoy and Foochow.

1855
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1855
1855

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

1864
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1864
1864

In the 1860s, JM & Co’s trading activities were enhanced by the expansion of its shipping, banking and insurance interests.  The Firm moved its main office from East Point to Central Hong Kong in 1864.

1889
Early Trading Years, Building Hong Kong as a Trading Port
1889
1889

Sir Paul Chater, in partnership with JM & Co, formed Hongkong Land.

1906
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1906
1906

JM & Co became a limited company. British & Chinese Corporation (BCC), formed by JM & Co and HSBC, signed a contract for the construction of the Kowloon-Canton railway the following year.  In 1908 BCC signed a contract for the construction of the Shanghai-Nanking Railway.

1923
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1923
1923

Jardine Engineering Company (JEC) was formed in Shanghai, playing a major role in providing machinery, equipment and services for the growing infrastructure developments in Hong Kong and Chinese mainland. In the same year, the sale of part of east Point was completed and the Tokyo earthquake demolished JM & Co’s Yokohama office.

1930
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1930
1930

By 1930, JM & Co’s main offices were in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  In this year, JEC installed the first lift in Tianjin, China, while in the following year the first Schindler lift was installed in Hong Kong. JEC also pioneered ammonia-type air-conditioners and led in the areas of heating and sanitation during this time.

1941
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1941
1941

The entry of Japan into the World War II forced the closure of JM & Co’s offices in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, although a presence was maintained in Chongqing.

1947
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1947
1947

JM & Co was one of the first companies to resume operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai after the War. The Firm’s business in Japan was re-established and its shipping activities were also revived. In the same year, Jardine Airways was formed with one of the first clients being the forerunner of British Airways.

1954
Business Transformation and Regional Expansion
1954
1954

JM & Co closed its offices in China. Nevertheless, the Firm maintained its links with the Mainland.

1957
Diversification
1957
1957

During the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, the Group went through another period of transformation.  Jardines’ head office returned to Hong Kong in 1957 and the old Jardine House on Pedder Street was replaced by the new one (now Wheelock House).

1961
Diversification
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1961

JM & Co became a public company, with the initial offer oversubscribed by some 56 times.

1963
Diversification
1963
1963

Hongkong Land opened the Mandarin Hotel, while JM Australia began operations in Sydney.

1964
Diversification
1964
1964

Dairy Farm acquired the Wellcome grocery chain in Hong Kong.

1970
Diversification
1970
1970

JM & Co pioneered merchant banking in Hong Kong and the region with the establishment of Jardine Fleming in a joint venture partnership with Robert Fleming. A representative office was opened in Jakarta in 1971.

1972
Diversification
1972
1972

The Excelsior hotel in Hong Kong was opened in 1972 at the site of Jardines’ original land purchase. This was followed by the acquisition of The Oriental, Bangkok in 1973 and hotels in Manila and Jakarta in 1976 and 1978.

1974
Diversification
1974
1974

JM & Co moved its head office to Connaught Centre (renamed Jardine House in 1989). The Group opened a branch office in Seoul, South Korea.

1975
Diversification
1975
1975

The Firm acquired Gammon Construction, Hong Kong’s leading construction company, now a 50-50 joint venture with Balfour Beauty. It also acquired a majority stake in Zung Fu, Hong Kong’s Mercedes-Benz distributor, which became the core business of Jardine Motors.

1979
Diversification
1979
1979

Jardines was one of the first companies to re-establish relations with Chinese mainland with the opening of a representative office in Beijing in 1979, followed by offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

1980
Diversification
1980
1980

The first industrial joint venture in Chinese mainland was formed by Jardine Schindler, while Maxim's Caterers made history by entering the first joint venture providing air catering services in the Chinese mainland. In the same year, the Group acquired a 40% interest in Hongkong Land Co, cementing a closer relationship between the two companies.

1981
Diversification
1981
1981

The Group opened the first 7-Eleven convenience store in Hong Kong. A major insurance broking operation was acquired in San Francisco and the Group’s motor business was extended to the UK.

1982
Diversification
1982
1982

Jardines celebrated its 150th anniversary and established the Jardine Foundation offering scholarships to students from the region attend Oxford and Cambridge universities. The Jardine Ambassadors Programme was also launched, with the objective of providing young Jardines executives in Hong Kong with the opportunity to serve the community.

1984
Diversification
1984
1984

Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited (JMH) was formed as the Group’s holding company incorporated in Bermuda. The Group withdrew from ship-owning activities.

1986
Business Repositioning
1986
1986

The Group undertook a series of corporate moves in which Dairy Farm and Mandarin Oriental were listed in Hong Kong, and Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited (JSH) was formed to hold stakes in a number of Group companies.

1987
Business Repositioning
1987
1987

Jardines took on the Pizza Hut franchise in Hong Kong. The Group continued its expansion in consumer marketing with acquisition of the IKEA franchise in Hong Kong and a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz in Southern China.

1990
Business Repositioning
1990
1990

Jardine Matheson, Hongkong Land, Dairy Farm and Mandarin Oriental established their primary listings on the London Stock Exchange and Jardine Strategic was listed the following year, while the main Asian share trading activity moved to Singapore. During the 1990s Dairy Farm acquired supermarket operations in Spain, New Zealand and Singapore to increase its business scale in the sector.

1992
Business Repositioning
1992
1992

The Group acquired a 16% interest in Singapore-listed blue chip Cycle & Carriage with interests in motor vehicles and property.

1993
Business Repositioning
1993
1993

The Group increased its interests in Cycle & Carriage, Dairy Farm, Hongkong Land and Mandarin Oriental.

1997
Business Repositioning
1997
1997

Hongkong Land strengthened its presence in the Mainland with the acquisition of a 40% interest in a residential estate in Beijing and completed its second office development in Vietnam.

1998
Business Repositioning
1998
1998

Hongkong Land began the redevelopment of a major Hong Kong property, while undertaking developments in Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam.

1998
Business Repositioning
1998
1998

Dairy Farm acquired a significant stake in the leading supermarket group Hero in Indonesia, and expanded its retail business in Malaysia and Singapore.

1999
Business Repositioning
1999
1999

Dairy Farm acquired 90% of Giant Malaysia.

2000
Business Repositioning
2000
2000

The Group began its long-term successful investment in leading Indonesian conglomerate, Astra. This occurred against the backdrop of the fall-out from 1997 Asian Financial Crisis when the rest of the world was still nervous about developments in Southeast Asia.

2000
Business Repositioning
2000
2000

Maxim's and Starbucks Coffee International formed a joint venture to open retail operations, and has since extended its Starbucks interests to Cambodia, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

2002
The Growth Journey
2002
2002

The Group increased its investment in Cycle & Carriage, which became a subsidiary following a successful partial offering to increase the Group's interest from 30% to 50%, and subsequently changed its name to Jardine Cycle & Carriage.

2004
The Growth Journey
2004
2004

Hongkong Land entered the Chongqing property market.

2006
The Growth Journey
2006
2006

Hongkong Land acquired a 77% stake in MCL Land, a Singapore-listed residential property developer. It is now wholly-owned.

2008
The Growth Journey
2008
2008

Jardine Cycle & Carriage acquired interest in Truong Hai Automotive Corporation, a leading automotive company in Vietnam

2009
The Growth Journey
2009
2009

Hongkong Land became a Group subsidiary.

2010
The Growth Journey
2010
2010

The Group ventured into new markets such as Cambodia. Jardine Strategic purchased a 12.25% stake in ACLEDA Bank Plc, Cambodia's second largest bank, which was held for a number of years. Hongkong Land invested in the Cambodian property market.

2011
The Growth Journey
2011
2011

Jardine Restaurant Group acquired the Pizza Hut franchise and the KFC franchise in Vietnam. Gammon completed the design-and-build of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s office complex.

2012
The Growth Journey
2012
2012

Dairy Farm entered the Cambodian and the Philippines markets with the acquisition of the Lucky supermarket business and Rustan's supermarket chain, respectively.

2013
The Growth Journey
2013
2013

The Group extended its reach to Myanmar with a representative office in Yangon. Jardine Schindler opened a new office there to consolidate its presence in the country. Jardine Restaurant Group acquired the KFC franchise in Hong Kong and Macau.

2014
The Growth Journey
2014
2014

Jardine Strategic invested US$731 million in Hong Kong-listed Zhongsheng Group Holdings Limited, one of the Mainland's leading motor dealership groups. Dairy Farm acquired a 49% interest in Rose Pharmacy in the Philippines.

2015
The Growth Journey
2015
2015

Dairy Farm acquired a 19.99% interest in Shanghai-listed supermarket and hypermarket operator Yonghui Superstores Co., Ltd. Jardine Cycle & Carriage invested in a 24.9% interest in Siam City Cement in Thailand.

2017
The Growth Journey
2017
2017

Jardine Strategic acquired a 22% shareholding in Hong Kong-listed Greatview Aseptic Packaging Company Limited, the second-largest supplier of aseptic carton packaging in China and the third-largest globally, in June.

2017
The Growth Journey
2017
2017

Jardine Cycle & Carriage acquired a 10% stake in Vinamilk, the leading dairy producer in Vietnam, for US$1.15 billion in November.

2018
The Growth Journey
2018
2018

Astra launched a joint venture with Gojek, Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand multi-service tech platform, and invested an additional US$100 million in March 2019 after its first investment of US$150 million in 2018.

2019
The Growth Journey
2019
2019

livi, a virtual bank backed by the Group, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and JD Digits, was officially launched.

2019
The Growth Journey
2019
2019

WF CENTRAL, Hongkong Land’s US$1.2 billion first flagship retail-led project in Beijing was opened in October. Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing, the group's first hotel in China's capital, was also opened in March.

2020
The Growth Journey
2020
2020

Hongkong Land secured a prime 23.1 hectare mixed-use site on the West Bund of Shanghai. The West Bund Financial Hub represents a unique opportunity for Hongkong Land to develop and operate a commercial complex of scale in a prime river-front location in Shanghai, the predominant commercial hub of the Chinese mainland.

2020
The Growth Journey
2020
2020

Dairy Farm launched yuu, Hong Kong’s biggest customer rewards club, in July.

2021
The Growth Journey
history-march-2021-entry.jpg
2021

In March, Jardine Matheson formed a strategic cooperation with leading private equity firm Hillhouse Capital to focus on investment and business development opportunities in Greater China and South-East Asia, in particular in the areas of consumer technology and digital enablement.

2021
The Growth Journey
new-projecthistory-april-2021-entry.jpg
2021

In April, the Group’s parent company structure was simplified by way of a scheme of amalgamation which led to the removal of Jardine Strategic as a holding company and left Jardine Matheson as the sole holding company for the Group. The new structure increased the Group’s operational efficiency and financial flexibility.

1832
1839
1841
1844
1855
1864
1889
1906
1923
1930
1941
1947
1954
1957
1961
1963
1964
1970
1972
1974
1975
1979
1980
1981
1982
1984
1986
1987
1990
1992
1993
1997
1998
1998
1999
2000
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2017
2017
2018
2019
2019
2020
2020
2021
2021