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Shun Hing funds Japan, Hong Kong research dormitory

HONG KONG -- Shun Hing Group, Panasonic's distributor in Hong Kong and Macau, has been a generous donor to local educational institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, for more than 30 years.

Shun Hing Group Chairman and CEO David Mong Tak-yeung, center, helped fund the creation of Shun Hing College at the University of Hong Kong.

     To honor the company's contributions to the university -- one of Asia's world-class institutions for higher education -- has named one of its four new dormitory buildings Shun Hing College, in honor of the company. Among the four facilities, it is the only one with a corporate name. All in all, the new dormitory can accommodate up to 1,800 local and international students.

     Established in 1953, Shun Hing Group now has over 1,800 employees. At a time when anti-Japanese sentiment was still simmering in Hong Kong after the end of World War II, its late company founder William Mong Man-wai personally asked Konosuke Matsushita, the late founder of Panasonic, to grant him sales distribution rights for the former British and Portuguese colonies. Mong managed to gain the trust of the Japanese business leader and was given what he wanted.

     In particular, Panasonic electric rice cookers have been a big hit among local consumers. In Hong Kong, people often cook rice with Chinese ham and sausages. But it is difficult to tell when to throw those ingredients in as Japanese rice cooker's lid is not transparent. Thus, Shun Hing came up with an idea to create a small glass window in the lid to allow users to see how the rice inside is cooking. The localization effort has paid off. The company has so far sold more than 10 million rice cookers in a city with a population of about seven million.

     Every summer the University of Hong Kong has invited a group of students from the University of Tokyo for a joint exchange program. Shun Hing College will accommodate Japanese students and researchers, and also plans to offer scholarships to students from the University of Hong Kong seeking to study in Japan.

     Shun Hing's first exchanges between Japan and Hong Kong were for business. Now, Shun Hing College will carry on the tradition which first started with William Mong's desire to bring Japanese products, particularly high-quality rice cookers, to Hong Kong.

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