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Cheong Fatt Sze - The Man behind the Blue Mansion


Who was Cheong Fatt Sze?

Who, indeed was Cheong Fatt Sze (also spelled as Cheong Fatt Tze) ? He came to Nanyang (South East Asia) when he was a young boy of 16 in 1856. Starting as a water bearer, he married well, and his wealthy merchant father-in-law entrusted him to manage his business. It proved to be a prudent step because the young man developed to be a most enterprising businessman.

Cheong Fatt Tze, a Chinese MandarinHe ventured into commodity of the days and also pioneered new techniques for tin-mining, among others.

A staunch traditionalist, he did not make the mistake of totally rejecting Western ways of business and new technology. Instead, using business acumen and cunning tactics, he grew his empire of business. It covered Trans-Pacific shipping as well as regional finance.

He was a philanthropist who funded generously to the building of many schools and temples.

There were other contemporary business partners, such as Leong Fe, who also lived at Leith Street at that time. That is why the street is also known as "Hakka Millionaire's Row".

Cheong Fatt Tze had other houses in Medan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and at his home town in Ta'ipu in China. However, Le Mansion Bleu was the most lavishly built and decorated. It was also a common practice for the well-to-do families at that time to have a house to be furnished in the Chinese way as well as the Western way. So that western dignitaries who came to visit were entertained at the western-style rooms and vice versa.

Cheong Fatt Sze in western style top coat and hatHe became a Minister of Commerce for China in 1902. When China became a republic in 1911, he was elected as a senator who advised the government on administrative and trade issues.

He was given the honor of being dubbed as the "Rockefeller of the East" by his admirers. Even until now in China, his accomplishments stored at the National Archives are being studied by the people.

Chang Pi-Shih alias Cheong Fatt Tze alias Thio Thiaw Siat died in 1916 in Jakarta. His body later was buried at his hometown in Ta'ipu.

Such was his influence that the governments of the Dutch and the British flew their flags at half mast to respect his demise.

The success of the restoration of his mansion spurred other similar projects in Penang. It could be said that even after his death, he continued to affect success in other people.

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More about the history of the Blue Mansions

The Blue Mansions have a long and fascinating history. Here's a lot more about Cheong Fatt Tze aka The Blue Mansions

More about the history of the Blue Mansions


Book your room at Cheong Fatt Mansions

Yes, we are glad we can offer you to book a room in this magnificent heritage house. This is a single chance in a lifetime to live for a few days like the original owners did.

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Cheong Fatt




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