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Heartened by China’s peaceful growth and economic development that has become the focus of world attention, and to echo Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s appeal that “All Ningbo merchants should be mobilized to construct their hometown,” Mr. Zhuang Xiaotian, Dr. Li Dak-sum and Dr. Chow Yei Ching proposed the establishment of the International Ningbo Merchants Association, to which the Ningbo merchants all around China, including Ningbo and Shanghai and worldwide actively responded. Consequently, the International Ningbo Merchants Association (INMA) was registered and founded in Hong Kong on 4 February 2008. Since then, many world renowned Ningbonese extended their support to this meaningful cause.

Ningbo was known as “ Mao” during the Qin Dynasty. As one of the top 10 merchants groups in ancient china, it has a long commercial history. During the Five-Treaty-Ports period (the five treaty ports including Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shangai were opened for free trade according to the Treaty of Nanking signed in 1842), the Ningbo Merchants Group moved to Shanghai and became involved in commercial undertakings such as money houses, shipping, and trading in foreign goods. After the two “ Ningbo Guild Bloody Cases”, the Ningbo Merchants Group became highly revered; the strength of their solidarity quickly spread over the whole country. Later, they kept pace with time and upgraded their business from money houses to banks, from large junks to steamships, and from ready-made garments to western-style garments. Furthermore, they also integrated western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine. They always played a pioneering role in new industries. As such, the Ningbo Merchants Group was listed as China’s “First” many times. In the late Qing Dynasty and in the early period of the Republic of China, the Ningbo Merchants finally exceeded the Shanxi Merchants and Anhui Merchants. They dominated the Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce and controlled the commercial activities in Tianjin and Wuhan. A slogan was even popularized: “No Ningbonese, No market”. In the mid-20th century, some Ningbo merchants migrated to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas, and built their business from scratch. Arduously pioneering and seizing opportunities, the Ningbo merchants became visible around the globe. Among these merchants, some became world commercial leaders – Bao Yugang, Dong Haoyun, and Sir Run Run Shaw being the most prominent of all.

On the other hand, in mainland China, along with the reform and opening-up policy, a new generation of Ningbo merchants gradually emerged. This eventually led to the establishments of various Ningbo chambers of commerce. There are 14 such chambers of commerce in China alone now proving that solidarity is becoming even more important as the economy grows. Only by building a global commercial platform for cooperative development could Ningbo merchants attain further improvement and again achieve greater glory. Hence, in order to seize historical opportunities, to gather worldwide Ningbo merchants’ talents, funds, information, and network, and to make full use of the economic strength and benefit for the construction in the hometown and development in China, it is a definite time to establish INMA.

INMA, with Ningbo and Ningbonese enterprises as the principal merbers, and with the support of the non-Ningbonese, shall serve as a global communication platform, provide commercial consulting service, open cooperative investment projects, participate in social public services, and thereby facilitate the healthy development of member enterprises and make due contributions to Ningbo and Greater China.

The head office of INMA is located in Hong Kong with branches in Ningbo and Shanghai respectively. Together, the three offices will carry out operations with the other Ningbo chambers of commerce by keeping them in close touch and communication. The business operation of INMA will be conducted by independent investment service companies and will use all the relationships, information, and networkds of chambers of commerce worldwide. Integrating all the intelligence, technology, and funds to harmonize and collaborate development, INMA will strive to rank Ningbo Merchants among the list of top world merchants groups.