Li & Fung

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Li & Fung Limited
Public company
Traded as SEHK0494
Industry Global sourcing
Founded 1906 (Guangzhou)
1937 (reincorporated in Hong Kong)
Headquarters Hong Kong
Key people
William Fung, Executive Chairman, Spencer Fung, Group Chief Executive Officer
Products Apparel, household goods, furnishings, toys, health and beauty products
Revenue US$19,288 (2014)

Li & Fung Limited (Chinese: 利豐有限公司) is a global sourcing firm, based in Hong Kong, that supplies high-volume, time-sensitive consumer goods from a global network of suppliers and distributors. It operates a sourcing and a logistics business.[1] Garments make up around two-thirds of the Li & Fung business which also covers the sourcing of hard goods such as fashion accessories, furnishings, gifts, handicrafts, home products, promotional merchandise, toys, sporting goods and travel goods.

As a supply chain manager across many producers and countries, Li & Fung provides product design and development, raw material and factory sourcing, production planning and management, quality assurance and export documentation to shipping consolidation.


The company was co-founded in 1906 by Fung Pak-liu (d. 1943), a school teacher using capital saved from his job teaching English, and partner Li To-ming, local merchant whose family owned a porcelain shop.[2] Li eventually sold his share in 1946,[3] leaving the company in the hands of the Fung family.

Based in Guangzhou (Canton), it was then an export trading operation, dealing in porcelain, fireworks, jade handicrafts and silk, mainly to the United States.

In 1937 the firm incorporated in Hong Kong by Fung's son Fung Hon-chu to take advantage of the British colony's oceangoing ships. After World War II, China closed for international business and the company refocused as an exporter of Hong Kong manufactured goods.[3] It was now led by Fung Hon-chu, son of the founder and father of the present controlling brothers, William and Victor. Li & Fung became a big exporter of garments, toys, wigs and plastic flowers.

William and Victor Fung were educated in the US and followed business careers there, before returning to join the family business in the early 1970s, as Li & Fung's broker role was being squeezed by both manufacturers and importers. They remade the company to provide value-added services in manufacturing, sourcing throughout Asia, including going back into re-emergent China.

Later, sources from countries closer to target markets were sought out: Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, for the US; Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia for Europe.

Li & Fung Ltd. went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1992.[4] Then the firm nearly tripled its size with the HK$475 million acquisition of Inchcape Buying Services (formerly known as Dodwell & Co.) in 1995. It was part of Inchcape plc, a British trading company with a network of offices in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The acquisition of Inchcape Buying Services, with its European customer base and sourcing points across the Indian subcontinent, balanced Li & Fung's American customer base and East Asian sourcing network.[5]

In his chapter entitled Li & Fung, Ltd.: An agent of global production (2001), Cheng used Li & Fung Ltd. as a case study in the international production fragmentation trade theory through which producers in different countries are allocated a specialised slice or segment of the value chain of the global production. Allocations are determined based on "technical feasibility" and the ability to keep the lowest final price possible for each product. In 1995 Li & Fung, following its acquisition of an established British trading company, Inchcape Buying Services, expanded its customer network in Europe and its producer network in South Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.[6]

Recent business activities[edit]

Li & Fung is headquartered in Hong Kong and employs about 26,000 people worldwide. It co-ordinates the manufacture of goods through its 300 offices and distribution centres in 40+ markets.[7] It works with an extensive network of independent producers.[8] It has been alleged that Li & Fung has great bargaining power which it uses aggressively, often utilising a "take it or leave it" posture when it makes offers.[8]

Li & Fung is a member of the Fung Group of companies, which also includes privately held retailing and publicly listed consumer-goods distribution businesses in Asia such as Toys "R" Us and Circle K franchises.[9] The Fung Group is an investor and partner of Future Supply Chains of the Future Group in India.

Control of the company remains focused in the hands of the founder's grandsons, Victor and William Fung, often known simply as 'the Fung brothers'. Together they own 32% of the publicly traded company, as well as stakes in the private parent company.[10]

Shiu Fung Fireworks, Ltd., producer of Black Cat brand fireworks, is located in Hong Kong and is a division of Li & Fung.[11]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Li & Fung Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Stitches in time, Forbes, 1999
  5. ^ [1] Li & Fung Limited Company-History on
  6. ^ Cheng, Leonard K. (2001). Leonard K. Cheng, Henryk Kierzkowski, ed. Li & Fung, Ltd.: An agent of global production in Global Production and Trade in East Asia. Springer. pp. 317–323. ISBN 978-1-4613-5647-9. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Ian Urbina; Keith Bradsher (7 August 2013). "Linking Factories to the Malls, Middleman Pushes Low Costs". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Billionaire Brothers Tie Up With Walmart, Forbes, 29 Jan 2010
  11. ^ "Black Cat Fireworks – Shiu Fung Fireworks, Ltd.". Retrieved 13 July 2012.