- hlyungLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Lai Chee Ying, Jimmy Lai in English, was born into poverty in mainland China's Guandong Province in 1948. At the age of 12 Lai was smuggled by his family into Hong Kong which at the time was still under British colonial control. Through relatives Lai easily managed to ascertain work at a local textile factory and by the age of twenty had succeeded in becoming the company's General Manager. With his first end of year bonus of $1000 dollars, along with all his life savings, Lai decided to trade on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The gamble, although risky proved fortuitous and Lai turned his measly original $3000 investment into approximately $40,000 dollars. With that money Lai bought out the owners of the bankrupt garment company of Comitex in 1975 and began manufacturing sweaters. The company was an overnight success and had exports to major American retail brands of J.C. Penny, Montgomery Ward and several others. It was during this time that Lai made several trips to the United States. It was during his time there that he was exposed to many western retail formats which inspired him to get into the retail market himself. In 1981 Lai founded Giordano (named after a favourite New York restaurant) and opened several stores across Hong Kong.