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Title: Tai-pan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Hong Kong (1800s–1930s), Praya Reclamation Scheme, Partnership taxation (Hong Kong), Douglas Clague, CSI Cross-Straits 500 Index
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A tai-pan (The Cantonese[1] Chinese: 大班; pinyin: Dàbān, literally 'top class',[2] or 'big shot') is a senior business executive or entrepreneur operating in China or Hong Kong.


In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tai-pans were foreign-born businessmen who headed large Hong trading houses such as Jardine, Matheson & Co. and Dent & Co. amongst others.

The first recorded use of the term in English is in the Canton Register of 28 October 1834.[3] Historical variant spellings include taepan (first appearance), typan, and taipan.[3] The term gained wide currency outside China after the publication of Somerset Maugham's 1922 short story "The Taipan" and James Clavell's 1966 novel Tai-Pan.


See also


  1. ^ Andrew J. Moody, "Transmission Languages and Source Languages of Chinese Borrowings in English", American Speech, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Winter, 1996), pp. 414-415.
  2. ^ 汉英词典 — A Chinese-English Dictionary 1988 新华书店北京发行所发行 (Beijing Xinhua Bookshop).
  3. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edn, 1989).
  4. ^ Nicholas D. Kristof (June 21, 1987). "'"Jardine Matheson's Heir-Elect: Brian M. Powers; An Asian Trading Empire Picks an American 'Tai-pan.  
  5. ^ Growth"(sic)"Lawrence Kadoorie, 94, Is Dead; A Leader in Hong Kong'g .  
  6. ^ "The Taipan and the dragon.".  
  7. ^ Rone Tempest and Christine Courtney (April 12, 1994). "Hong Kong's New Business Dynasties : The great British trading houses rush to hire more Chinese executives, shed their colonial veneer before Beijing takes over in '97.".  
  8. ^ a b  
  9. ^ Tony Lopez (September 29, 2011). "Revisiting Al Yuchengco, the quintessential taipan".  
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