What was the Cha family involved in before it entered the property business?
My father, Dr. Cha, was born into one of the oldest and most prominent families in Yuanhua Town, Haining, Zhejiang. After graduating from the then University of Zhejiang at the age of 17, he began his career at the Changzhou Dacheng Textile and Dyeing Company, and business boomed until the Sino-japanese war. Faced with constant air-raids, Father evacuated the plant and transported over 100 looms to Chongqing, in Sichuan, where production could continue.
After the war, he relocated his entire family to Hong Kong in 1947 and opened China Dyeing Works in Tsuen Wan in 1949. The business grew fast and he became a leading player in the textile industry, expanding globally to become a worldwide success. In fact, he operated the largest foreign-owned business in West Africa. While this textile empire was at its height, a new business opportunity came knocking— Discovery Bay. In 1977, the relatively modest development was mortgaged to the Moscow Narodny Bank and facing foreclosure. With Sino-soviet relations at rock bottom, the prospect of part of Hong Kong becoming Russian property stirred unease in Beijing. Father caught wind of this while travelling overseas and flew back immediately with a view to acquiring the resort.
It was a risky move for someone with no previous experience in real estate. However, with his characteristic passion and a unique vision, he set about transforming Discovery Bay into a multi-national residential and resort community. The results speak for themselves. 家父查濟民博士出生於浙江海寧市袁花鎮其中一個顯赫家族，17歲畢業於昔日的浙江大學，之後開始在常州大成紡織染公司工作，公司業務蒸蒸日上，直至中日戰爭爆發。紡織廠所在地屢受空襲，於是查博士想出辦法，把100台紡織機運到四川重慶，使紡織廠能繼續運作。