Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist Sir David Tang has died in London at the age of 63.

david tang
David Tang, Hong Kong tycoon who designs China-inspired fashion, poses in his first boutique in Continental Europe, 05 November 2003 in Paris. File photo: Joel Saget/AFP.

Best known as the founder of fashion brand Shanghai Tang, he also founded Hong Kong’s private member China Club in 1991.

He was educated in Britain, reading philosophy at King’s College London and law at Cambridge University.

Following a stint at his grandfather Sir Tang Shiu Kin’s solicitor firm, he joined Swire Pacific Limited before beginning his own ventures.

Tang was given the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 in light of his charity work.

YouTube video

Last February, he gave a fiery defence of Hong Kong values at a sold-out talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. He said that it would be stupid to think that Shanghai, with its “mainland judicial system, corruption, and lack of freedom” could overtake Hong Kong.

News of his passing was shared on Wednesday by Ewan Venters, chief of London’s luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

‘Farewell party’

Earlier in August, he was told by doctors that he had just weeks to live. He pledged to hold a farewell party at the Dorchester Hotel in London, according to The Times.

The invitation read: “As I have been given by my politburo of medical experts just a month or two to last, I thought the best way to go would be to give a party where we can see each other at least one time more, rather than at a memorial service where I shall be dead as a dodo.”

Tributes flooded in as the news broke. Tang’s friend and actor Russell Crowe, tweeted that Tang was “Witty, charming, intellectual salacious, hilarious, loving and funny as f***.”

The British consulate in Hong Kong also offered its condolences.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.