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
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.