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01 Nov 2023
Giving back through education

Swire has a long history of educational sponsorship in Hong Kong. In the early 1900s, when the idea of establishing a university in Hong Kong for local and Mainland students was first proposed, few foreign firms were willing to put their hands in their pockets to help fund it. But Swire was one that did, contributing the sum of forty thousand pounds sterling - then a very large sum of money indeed. As a result, in 1911, the new University of Hong Kong (HKU) created the Taikoo Chair of Engineering and Swire was also granted the privilege of annually selecting four recipients for Taikoo Donor Scholarships - today called John Swire Donor Scholarships.

Over the decades since, our support has continued with a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships. An initial donation towards the building of the Robert Black College for postgraduate and visiting scholars in 1967, was supplemented by the endowment of two residential scholarships at the college. These were followed in the 1970s by the establishment of Swire Research Studentships and a Travelling Awards scheme, and in the early 1990s, by 25 Swire Scholarships for postgraduate residents of the new May Wing. Swire meanwhile kept up its commitment to undergraduate students, with funding for a new hall of residence, Swire Hall, in the 1970s. The Group currently funds undergraduate and doctoral scholarships, as well annual travel grants and a Study Abroad Scholarship at HKU.

Today, Swire also funds student scholarships at five other Hong Kong universities and since 2017, the Swire China Scholarships scheme has provided funding for Hong Kong scholars to pursue tertiary education on the Chinese Mainland; there are currently 30 participating universities. In 2012, the Swire Group Charitable Trust (Swire Trust) funded the establishment of the Swire Professorship in Aerospace Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, to help HKUST build its first ever degree course in aerospace engineering into a world-class programme that aims to strengthen the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s aviation sector and increase career options and opportunities in Hong Kong. The Group also sponsors the Swire Professorship in Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In the 1980s, the Group established the Swire Educational Trust, which sponsors graduate and postgraduate places at the University of Oxford and at five other leading UK universities for students from Hong Kong and other locations where Swire has business interests. The Trust has a longstanding relationship with St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford and has over many years funded a range of scholarships for both students and academic visitors.


Swire has also been active in the support of primary and secondary education in Hong Kong. The Taikoo Primary School was established by the firm in 1923, as a free school for the children of its workforce at the Taikoo Sugar Refinery and Taikoo Dockyard; it became a government-subsidised public school in 1947. In 1966, Swire donated land as well as paying half the construction costs for a new school building and in 2002, the school moved again into a new campus financed and developed by Swire Properties. Today, Swire remains involved in the school’s governance and the Swire Trust provides a number of scholarships, as well as funding for tuition at the school. Swire offers primary, secondary and tertiary educational scholarships to the children of its staff in Hong Kong and the Swire Trust also provides a range of funding to disadvantaged children, with an emphasis on students with special needs.

Swire operating companies in Hong Kong provide industry-specific training opportunities to students through various scholarships and bursaries, as well as a wide range of internship, job-shadowing and familiarisation programmes, which aim to provide commercial insight, as well as hands on experience, to young people who aspire to work with the Group.