This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
Mr. Sung May-dong, a native of Ningpo, Chekiang Province, was born in 1884. Bright and intelligent, he entered St. John’s University of Shanghai, at the age of fourteen; but after four years at that school, he decided to discontinue his studies. He then entered the commercial world, starting to work in Hankow.
Mr. Sung’s father had established a watch and clock business in Shanghai. A factory was equipped to assemble clocks according to foreign methods. This was the pioneer factory of its kind in China. At the early age of 20, Mr. Sung succeeded his father in the management of this business, which was known as the May War Lee Co. Under his able management, the business has developed rapidly. At the time of this writing, over twenty branch retail selling organizations, of the company, have been opened in various parts of China. The superior quality of the products produced by this firm is evidenced by the fact that various medals and certificates have been awarded by the Panama Pacific, Manila, and domestic Exhibitions.
Mr. Sung is kind hearted, modest and sincere. He has devoted a great deal of his time in the interest of social reform. He has been one of the greatest opponents of the use of opium, in any form; and in 1917, desiring to set a good example to others, he, in conjunction with a few personal friends, purchased one of the largest opium smoking houses in Shanghai and converted into a commercial museum. The opium smoking paraphernalia of this establishment was burned in a public garden before a large audience.
In his native district, Mr. Sung has furnished a fund to start an experimental station as a means of improving the agricultural products of the district. He has established an elementary school for the education of country children; and he has created many scholarships for deserving students, entitling them to a higher education at various universities in China and abroad.
Mr. Sung was associated with the organization of the Ningpo-Shaoshing Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. He also participated in the movement to establish the Ningpo Association in Shanghai. When the Ningpo-Shaoshing Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. Commenced to operate steamers between Ningpo and Shanghai, other competing steamship companies cut rates to such an extent that the position of the new company was endangered; but, due to the foresight of Mr. Sung, a Shipping Maintenance Association was organized with the object of gaining patronage for that company.
Mr. Sung is President of the Kung Yih Hospital. He is a director of the Shanghai Ningpo Guild, Ningpo Hospital, Ningpo Association, and the Ningpo-Shaoshing Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. He is also a director of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce of Shanghai, having served in that capacity for several years. As a reward for his philanthropy, the President of China has awarded Mr. Sung a gold medal and two memorial tablets: one containing the text “Respect Sage’s Teachings and Promote Education,” and the other “Interested in Relieving Sufferers at all Time”.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925), 84.