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Ma Yingbiao: Pioneer of modern Chinese department stores

It is said that China's modern commerce began in Xiangshan (Zhongshan at ancient times). The four major department stores in China on Nanjing Road in Shanghai, namely Sincere, Wing On, Xin Xin and Daxin, started the journey of modernization of China's department store industry. The founders of the four major department stores all came from Zhongshan. Ma Yingbiao (Ma Ying-piu), founder of the Sincere Department Store, was a native of South District.


▲Ma Yingbiao (1864-1944)


▲The Sincere Department Store in Shanghai (File photo)

South District is home to many overseas Chinese, and Ma Yingbiao from Shachong Village was one of the most prominent ones. He founded China's first department store Sincere in Hong Kong.


▲The Ma Zaiming Memorial Hall

In 1923, Ma Yingbiao hired European designers to build the Ma Zaiming Memorial Hall (马公纪念堂) in honor of his father. The memorial hall complex includes the Italian-style Yiyuan Hall, the British-style Nanyuan Hall and the Spanish-style women and children's home (which is still used as a kindergarten today). This private residence with three foreign styles stands on Yingbiao Road today. It is the largest Western-style private residence among ancient buildings of overseas Chinese from Zhongshan, and also an important place to learn about the remarkable history of Ma Yingbiao and the Sincere Department Store.



▲The Ma Zaiming Memorial Hall complex includes buildings of different styles.

Ma Yingbiao was the first among overseas Chinese and Hong Kong and Macao compatriots originally from Zhongshan to donate a huge amount of money to support the development of their hometown in the past hundred years. In 1918, he funded the first artificial park, the first kindergarten and the first artificial swimming pool in the history of Zhongshan in his hometown Shachong Village. He also made a will to report his donation projects to the government.

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