Lui Keung Aquarium can be said to be the pioneer of aquarium business. Dr Charles Lui, proprietor of the company, has a special interest in this business. He began to study and raise tropical fish. gold fish, and salt water fish some 55 years ago. Entirely out of interest, he imported tropical fish from South America by ship and succeeded in breeding various kinds of tropical fishes in Hong Kong.
At that time, people considered it a miracle to breed wild tropical fish in Hong Kong. Even the then experts thought it was impossible. Dr Lui, however, set a record by surmounting all difficulties and won the reputation of “Fish King”. This wonderful achievement appeared in the secondary text books used at that time, Form 2 text books to be exact. Later on, improved species continued to be imported. Fish in large quantities wore bred and exported a 11 over the world, even to their places of origin. It was also a miracle to be able to export live fish in large quantities across the ocean. This was made possible only through Dr Lui’s invention of using oxygen filled plastic bags and foam rubber cartons in packing. The live cargoes were then sent to various countries by air. Previously, live fishes were sent by ship, packed in large tin cans, to be looked after by a supervisor. Naturally the mortality rate was very high. This aroused public interest in keeping ornamental fish all over the world. When the first shipment of live fish sent in this way by air arrived at the USA, Dr Ross Socolof, an American fish expert, was amazed in the achievement and expressed his satisfaction and admiration. Since then, airlines have paid much attention to transportation of live fish by air. Lui Keung Aquarium had consecutively for three years won the champion in business volume in air freight with Japan Air Lines. In 1983, Dr Lui Invented transportation of live fish without water, thus reducing air freight considerably. This of course, has further improved the ornamental fish business. Dr Lui became a major object of interview by the mass media all over the world.
In 1993, the Hong Kong Government decided to issue a special series of commemorative stamps with charity gold fish souvenir covers on the occasion of the 38th Anniversary of Lui Keung Aquarium. All proceeds of the sale of first day covers were generously donated to the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the Hong Kong Community Chest for Charity purpose.
Due to circumstances unforeseen moat fish farms In the New Territories are re-entered by the Government. This course of action has adversely affected the local aquarium business as a whole. The situation was, however, taken advantage of by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery in China which, on Dr Lui’s advice, promoted the production of ornamental flab in large quantities. Lui Keung Aquarium was then appointed sole agents and distributors of Chinese ornamental fish in Hong Kong. mainly from Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Fu Shan, Zhongshan, Sheqi and Shenzhen.
From 1978-1984, for five days a week, Monday to Friday, 800 cartons containing about 400,000 were shipped to Hong Kong everyday. Lui Keung Aquarium amazed the world by exporting the Chinese gold fish to all ornamental fish markets in the world, comparable to the famous international diplomatic game of Ping Pong in the early days. Dr Lui later imported Japanese Koi and Malaysian Asiatic Bony Tongue to Hong Kong and promoted enthusiasm In raising such fish in Hong Kong. Lui Keung Aquarium since then has set up local retail shops. With the large volume of business in aquarium equipment, China set up factories to produce the required equipment in large quantity and good quality. The lower cost of production enables the equipment to be sold at very reasonable prices, to the advantage of dealers in China and Hong Kong.
It is roughly estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of aquarium shops and ornamental fish breeding farms in China.
Nowadays, it is unnecessary for any kind of ornamental fish to be imported from overseas. They are all available in China. This is not yet the climax. Better prospects of the business are yet to come.