Ningbo businessmen and national records
Ningbo businessmen set many national records as they expanded their business.In 1897, they set up China's first bank, the China Merchants Bank, marking the start of the traditional Chinese money houses that engage in modem banking. However, the first shareholding commercial bank bearing the name of a city did not emerge until 1908 when the Siming Commercial Savings Bank was founded with the directors and general managers all being Ningbo natives.
These events signified that Ningbo businessmen in Shanghai had already seen the great potential in capital operations along with a great leap in their business concepts.
With the outbreak of the World War I, WeStern powers relaxed their grip on China. Ningbo businessmen were quick to seize the opportunity and they set up more than ten banks within one year. They went on to set up a number of other banks. The bankers in Shanghai， with those from Ningbo being the main body, were later referred to collectively as the "Jiangsu-Zhejiang financial group." The Ningbo-funded banking sector played an inestimable role in promoting the operations of the Ningbo businessmen in Shanghai.
In metropolitan Shanghai, Ningbo businessmen were a strong force in leading the Chinese economy at the time. They set up the country's first chemical works producing daily necessities, the first machine dyeing and weaving mill, the first light bulb plant, the first private meters and instruments plant, as well as the first insurance company, properties company and securities brokerage.
At a time when most Chinese were still amazed at the magical effects of the movies just imported into China in the early years of the 20th century, Ningbo businessmen were shrewd enough to see the business opportunities in this. Long before Huang Chujiu, a native of Ningbo, set up the China Film Company in 1924, a group of other Ningbo natives had already tried their hands at movie making by setting up the country's first film studio with exclusive Chinese funds - the Huanxian Film Studio. They produced the country's first feature film. The names of these early movie makers of Ningbo origin have come down in the history of the Chinese film industry. Among them were Zhang Shichuan, a trailblazer, and Shao Zuiweng, Shao Tunren, Shao Renmei (Runme Shaw) and Shao Yifu (Run Run Shaw), who founded the Tianyi Film Co. and the Shao Brothers.
In 1933, Dong Haoyun (Chao Yung Tung), then in his twenties, left his native town of Zhoushan, which was under the jurisdiction of Ningbo at that time, to start a business in Shanghai. After suffering setbacks, he finally became China's first shipping tycoon. He and another Ningbo native, Bao Yugang (YK Pao), were heavyweights in the international shipping community.
Wedding processions, said to be five kilometers long, were a local custom unique to the Ninghai County and other parts of eastern Zhejiang. Local tradition would have a bride carried in a richly decorated sedan chair to the home of the bridegroom, followed by a long procession of people carrying all the necessities she was supposed to need, from bedding to furniture to odds and ends. Such a spectacle was rarely seen elsewhere in the country in terms of size, number of articles involved, their workmanship, artistic value, and the money spent on them.
Tianyi Pavilion Library
The Tianyi Pavilion, standing beside Yuehu (Moon Lake) in Ningbo City, is one of the oldest buildings for keeping books in China. Built more than 430 years ago, it maintains 300,000 volumes. It is one of the three oldest existent private libraries in the world.
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