1946-1973 New Directions

1946 Rebuilding post-war

Category: Corporate, Beverages & Food Chain, Marine Services

Jack Swire's son, John Kidston Swire (1893-1983), known as "Jock", became Chairman of Swire. Under his leadership, Swire rebuilt its key operational businesses. By 1950, Taikoo Sugar and Taikoo Dockyard were back in full production. With Hong Kong as its home port, China Navigation began to establish new services to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Its growing network of Pacific Rim services established the pattern for the liner trades in which the company participates to this day.

1946 A return to trading

Category: Trading & Industrial

Butterfield & Swire and Maclaine Watson & Co. formed a Hong Kong-based trading joint venture, Swire & Maclaine. Swire’s return to general trading capitalised on the post-war shortages of every sort of commodity in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

1947 An aviation opportunity

Category: Corporate, Aviation

Recognising that air transport was the key to the future, Jock Swire used Taikoo Dockyard's engineering skills to develop an aircraft repair and maintenance facility, Pacific Air Maintenance and Supply Company ("PAMAS"), at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airfield.

1948 Taking to the skies

Category: Corporate, Aviation

Swire acquired a 45% shareholding in a local airline, Cathay Pacific Airways. By this time, the airline had grown from its original single US Army surplus DC3 ("Dakota"), "Betsy", to a fleet of six DC3s and a Catalina flying boat. The growth of Hong Kong's airline was to become Jock Swire's special pride.

Inside Story

1948 A Hong Kong paint business

Category: Corporate, Trading & Industrial

Swire's Shanghai paint manufacturing business, Orient Paint, transferred to Hong Kong and merged with Duro Paint Manufacturing under the name Swire Duro.

1950 HAECO is born

Category: Corporate, Aviation

Pacific Air Maintenance and Supply Company merged with Jardine Air Maintenance Company to form Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company ("HAECO") - today one of the world's leaders in its field.

1952-58, Diversifying in Australia

Category: Corporate ,Beverages & Food Chain

Swire re-established headquarters in Australia and began to invest in the road haulage and cold storage sectors, commencing with freezer transport company, Frigmobile, which was by that time the country’s leading refrigerated truck operator.


Category: Corporate, Marine Services

1959 Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co. is floated on the Hong Kong stock market

1959 A regional airline

Category: Aviation

Cathay Pacific Airways absorbed rival Hong Kong Airways, gaining northbound traffic rights to Taiwan region and Japan. It was a milestone year for Cathay Pacific: now truly a regional carrier, the airline inaugurated a scheduled service to Sydney with its first turboprop aircraft, the Lockheed L188 Electra.

1965 Ventures in bottling

Category: Corporate, Beverages & Food Chain

Swire purchased Hong Kong Bottlers Federal Inc., an American-owned business that held the franchise to bottle Coca-Cola in Hong Kong. At that time, Hong Kong Bottlers’ output was 104 million bottles annually. Today, Swire is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the world, serving a franchise population of 736 million in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan region and the USA.


Category: Corporate

John Anthony Swire (1927-2016) becomes Chairman of the Swire group.

1972 Rationalisation

Category: Corporate, Beverages & Food Chain, Marine Services

Taikoo Dockyard’s facilities on Hong Kong Island had been outgrown by the advent of large modern container ships. Swire took the decision to amalgamate with rival Hongkong & Whampoa Dock Company, forming Hongkong United Dockyards ("HUD Group"), which established premises at Hong Kong’s new container port in Kwai Chung. In the same year, Taikoo Sugar closed its refinery to concentrate on sugar products and packaging; it remains Hong Kong’s favourite sugar brand.

1972 Building blocks

Category: Corporate, Property

The closure of Taikoo Sugar Refinery and Taikoo Dockyard released a vast acreage of land in the Quarry Bay district of Hong Kong. A new company, Swire Properties, was incorporated to create a new urban landscape in the area - today known as Taikoo Place & Cityplaza - beginning with Taikoo Shing ("Swire City"), Hong Kong Island’s first private residential estate, and the retail/office complex Cityplaza (its underground car park formed from the old Taikoo dry-dock). These were to be the first of an extensive portfolio of "mixed-use" properties developed and managed by Swire Properties.


1974-1979 Going Global