A giant of stage, screen and jeans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2005, 12:00am

Veteran impresario Abba Chan Tat-chee began building his fortune by exporting jeans of his own label, ABBA, to North America, which earned him the nickname 'Uncle Ba' in the trade.

In 1998, he founded ABBA Entertainment Group and started organising mainland concerts for popular Hong Kong artists like Andy Lau Tak-wah and Aaron Kwok Fu-sing, which earned him a new nickname, 'Father of Mainland Music Concerts'.

'Uncle Ba' became better known locally for arranging recent sell-out concerts featuring stars such as Alan Tam Wing-lun and the comeback of Sam Hui Koon-kit and for his cosy friendships with local artists and socialites.

He also ventured into movie-making and had a string of box-office hits such as Dragon Loaded and I Want to be a Model, starring the man he likes to call his son, Ronald Cheng Chung-kei.

In July last year he teamed up with Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) to form a $10 million joint venture to offer loans for Chinese-language filmmakers.

On top of his fledging entertainment business, Mr Chan, 59, also left his mark in the energy, real estate and travel sectors. In August 2003 he snapped up Central China Enterprises, now known as China Sciences Conservational Power, for just $18 million, becoming chairman and later executive director.

Last September he stunned the property market by buying 11 flats at the high-class private estate Parc Palais in Ho Man Tin for $132 million. He swiftly resold them for a profit of $10 million, only to splash out $130 million buying another 13 flats in the estate.

Earlier this year he gave evidence as a prosecution witness in a fraud case after two men, one of them Mr Chan's long-time hairdresser, set up a bogus bank to try to dupe him out of $2 million.

Abba Chan with some of the stars whose careers he helped (clockwise from right): Alan Tam, Leon Lai Ming, Hacken Lee, Sam Hui and Andy Lau.