First Chinese department store in Hong Kong
Pioneering since 1900
Sincere was ground-breaking in Hong Kong when they pioneered the first Chinese department store: “A wide selection of goods, fixed prices, mandatory receipts, and immaculate groomed female sales staff”, reported the SCMP when it opened.
After years of doing business in Australia, Ma decided to come back to Hong Kong in 1894 and set up Sincere in 1900, pooling investment from Australian and Mainland Chinese. As the name suggests, Ma believed that sincerity and trust were the success factors. He was among the first to introduce fixed pricing.
Once promising growth
Sincere has been a textbook example of a Hong Kong family business that has continued to be successful through wars, political upheavals, economic turmoil and more. They’ve diversified into insurance, cosmetics and hospitality, but retail remains at the core. At its height, Sincere was not only one of Shanghai’s ‘Big Four Department Stores’, its footprint also expanded into South East Asia and even London, with over 70 branches.