Emily Tang left the main­land to build a new life in Hong Kong with her prince. Chloe Street dis­cov­ers a mil­i­tary-style up­bring­ing has served her well

Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

A mil­i­tary-style up­bring­ing has served Emily Tang well.

orn and raised in Yun­nan province by a fa­ther in the Chi­nese mil­i­tary, Emily Tang is no stranger to dis­ci­pline and hard work. She and her brother were treated like “lit­tle sol­diers.” Ev­ery day be­gan with a 6am run and an hour of home­work be­fore break­fast. “We barely got enough sleep,” re­calls Emily.

The strict regime con­tin­ued when she worked un­der a for­mer soldier at one of the largest fu­tures bro­ker­ages in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, Kun­ming. So strin­gent were his stan­dards that em­ploy­ees of the op­po­site sex were for­bid­den from lunch­ing to­gether, no per­sonal be­long­ings were per­mit­ted on desks, and all drinks and snacks were out­lawed in the work­place. Emily re­mem­bers hav­ing to pay a 50-yuan penalty for eat­ing a few ly­chees with some col­leagues.

While she likes to laugh about it now, that strict work ethic no doubt serves her well at the firm founded by hus­band Jimmy Tang, Prince Jew­ellery & Watch, where she is group vice-chair­man and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. Emily took on the roles, which in­volve over­see­ing the com­pany’s brand­ing and mar­ket­ing, in 2012, a decade af­ter mar­ry­ing Jimmy, who is the chair­man and CEO.

Ten years her se­nior, Jimmy was a wi­d­ower, hav­ing lost his first wife to ill­ness, and had sons aged 10 and 15 when he was in­tro­duced to Emily by one of her for­mer class­mates in 2002 while he was on a busi­ness trip to the main­land. “It was des­tiny to have him in my life,” Emily says. She was im­me­di­ately at­tracted to his per­son­al­ity. “He was so nice and down-to-earth. Per­haps be­cause he is 10 years older, he gives me a strong sense of se­cu­rity when I am with him, just like my fa­ther, who I am very close to.”

Ro­mance blos­somed and the pair mar­ried the fol­low­ing year. Emily moved to Hong Kong to be­come a sec­ond mother to Arthur and Alan and, soon, to Eric, the son she added to the fam­ily later that year. “My hus­band was born in the Year of the Sheep, and 2003 was also the Year of the Sheep, so he re­ally wanted us to get mar­ried and have a sheep baby.”

Emily took a keen in­ter­est in Jimmy’s com­pany right from the start, at­tend­ing nu­mer­ous watch and jew­ellery events with him. By the time she joined Prince Jew­ellery & Watch, she had de­vel­oped a pas­sion for the in­dus­try and a good un­der­stand­ing of it. Her knowl­edge of the main­land mar­ket and cul­ture has been in­valu­able for the com­pany’s ex­pan­sion into the main­land. In ad­di­tion to the 14 stores in Hong Kong, Prince Jew­ellery & Watch has opened stores in Shang­hai and Guangzhou, and has two stores in Ma­cau.

As well as her brand­ing and mar­ket­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Emily is the com­pany’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the main­land. “I am glad to work with ev­ery­one in the com­pany and to grow with them to­gether,” she says.

Emily has thrown her­self into the life of the city that has be­come home and lauds Hongkongers as kind-hearted and hard­work­ing. These are at­tributes Emily dis­plays her­self in her roles as honorary pres­i­dent of the Hong Kong Girl Guides As­so­ci­a­tion and as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors of the Hong Kong Aids Foun­da­tion. She’s also a mem­ber of the Po Le­ung Kuk and a long­stand­ing par­tic­i­pant in the Evan­ge­lis­tic Free Church of China. When pressed on what she re­gards as her great­est achieve­ment, she’s mod­est to a fault. “I don’t think I’ve achieved any­thing re­ally. I just want to help Mr Tang and re­duce the bur­dens on him.”

A dot­ing wife and mother, a well­recog­nised face on Hong Kong’s so­cial and phil­an­thropic scenes, and now a linch­pin in the fam­ily’s ex­pand­ing lux­ury busi­ness, Emily Tang has cer­tainly achieved that goal—and a lot more.

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