Aw Boon Haw
Aw Boon-Haw (Chinese: 胡文虎; pinyin: Hú Wénhǔ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hô͘ Bûn-hó͘; 1882 in Rangoon, Indian Empire – 1954 in Hong Kong), OBE, was a Burmese Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for introducing Tiger Balm. He was the son of Hakka herbalist Aw Chu-Kin, with his ancestral home in Yongding County, Fujian Province, China.
Life and career
Aw migrated to Singapore in 1926, where he began the business of Tiger Red Balm with his brother, Aw Boon-Par. Aw also founded several newspapers, including Sin Chew Jit Poh and Guang Ming Daily, which are both based in Malaysia today; and Sing Tao Daily, which dates back to 1938 and is currently based in Hong Kong. Aw moved to Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation of Singapore and managed the business from there, while his brother stayed in Singapore until he closed down the factory and went to Rangoon. Aw returned to Singapore after the end of World War II and re-established his business.
While on a trip to Hong Kong from Boston, US in 1954, Aw died at the age of 72 from a heart attack following a major operation. His legacy is found in the Haw Par Villas throughout Asia, with locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Fujian Province of China.
Aw's adopted daughter is the Hong Kong businesswoman and former Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference member Sally Aw. Sally Aw squandered the vast fortune and was on the brink of bankruptcy. Tiger Balm Gardens and the Aw Boon-Haw Gardens in Hong Kong were sold to the territory's billionaire, Li Ka-Shing, for US$13 million in 1998.
The daughter of Aw Boon-Haw and his fourth wife, Aw Seng (胡星), is currently residing in Singapore and has set up a company under her father's name, Aw Boon Haw Pte Ltd, to continue the heritage and legacy of her father. Aw Seng died on 10 April 2012 in Vancouver aged 100.