Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang dies at 63

In this March 20, 2007, file photo, Hong Kong businessman David Tang poses during an interview at his home in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
In this Saturday, March 14, 2015 photo, Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, left, poses with his wife Lucy on the red carpet for the fundraising gala organized by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
In this Saturday, March 14, 2015, photo, Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, right, and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh attend the fundraising gala organized by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
In this March 20, 2007 file photo, Hong Kong businessman David Tang gestures during an interview at his home in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
In this Saturday, March 14, 2015, photo, Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang poses on the red carpet for the fundraising gala organized by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
In this March 20, 2007, file photo, Hong Kong businessman David Tang smokes cigar during an interview at his home in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
In this March 20, 2007, file photo, Hong Kong businessman David Tang poses during an interview at his home in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
In this Saturday, March 14, 2015, photo, Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, poses on the red carpet for the fundraising gala organized by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
In this March 20, 2007, file photo, Hong Kong businessman David Tang pauses during an interview at his home in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
In this Saturday, March 14, 2015, photo, Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, left, poses with his wife Lucy on the red carpet for the fundraising gala organized by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) in Hong Kong. Tang, a flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG — David Tang, the flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63.

The Financial Times newspaper, for which he wrote a popular tongue-in-cheek advice column, reported Tang's death in a story Wednesday. Tang had fought a long battle with cancer and died Tuesday night at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London with his wife Lucy at his bedside, the newspaper said.

"David Tang was a remarkable man of many talents whose charm, erudition and wit were ever present," the article quoted the newspaper's editor, Lionel Barber, as saying. "He will be sorely missed."

The Hong Kong-born, British-educated Tang was a businessman who operated private clubs and restaurants and held exclusive distribution rights to Cuban cigars in Asia. Tang was knighted in 2008 for his charitable work in both Britain and Hong Kong, the same honor his grandfather, businessman and philanthropist Tang Shiu-kin, also received.

He was planning to throw a farewell bash on Sept. 6 at London's luxury Dorchester hotel after learning he only had a few months left, according to Ewan Venters, chief executive of luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

"Personally, I think the world is a little duller for the loss of David and at such a relatively young age," Venters said.

Tang was best known for starting the Shanghai Tang luxury brand in 1994, which pioneered the use of Chinese retro design themes as fashion motifs. He later sold the brand to the Swiss luxury goods company Richemont.

He caused a stir by opening the members-only China Club in 1991 on the top floors of the old Bank of China building in Hong Kong's financial district, expanding it to Beijing and Singapore. He opened the China Tang restaurant in the Dorchester.

Tang enjoyed a reputation as the best-connected person in Hong Kong and London. He mingled with a vast list of the rich and famous including the late Princess Diana, whom he once hosted at the China Club, and supermodel Kate Moss, with whom he was often photographed at parties.

Actor Russell Crowe called the businessman "witty, charming, intellectual, salacious" in a tweet Wednesday, saying: "RIP dear friend Sir David Tang, the privilege was mine."

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Tang was asked how he came to know so many notable people. "You mean how did they know me," he shot back with a laugh.

He has famously recounted how he sent off to school in Britain at the age of 13 barely able to speak a word of English. But he ended up graduating with a philosophy degree and cultivated an arch British accent.

Last year he weighed in with his frank views on Hong Kong politics, lashing into the city's then-leader Leung Chun-ying over his leadership and fretting about the future of his home city under Communist rule.

"There are many more things which need fixing, and most of them could not be achieved given the standoff between the pan-democrats representing the majority of ordinary people, and the establishment, so-called, hugging most of our somnambulant tycoons, and that elephantine Communist Party in China," he said in a speech .

Tang is survived by his wife, British-born Lady Lucy Tang, and two children from a previous marriage.

Must Read

BBC's China editor resigns over gender pay gap...

Jan 8, 2018

The BBC's China editor has resigned her position in Beijing in protest over what she called a...

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for...

May 22, 2018

China has sentenced a Tibetan language activist to five years in prison for inciting separatism...

Shanghai Shenhua accuses Changchun Yatai player...

Aug 5, 2018

Chinese Superleague team Shanghai Shenhua has accused an opposing player of racially abusing its...

Chinese e-commerce tycoon part of celebrity tech...

Sep 5, 2018

The e-commerce billionaire who was arrested and released by Minneapolis police is a high-profile...

Mystery around disappearance of Chinese star Fan...

Sep 24, 2018

Fan Bingbing, one of China's best-known stars, has well and truly fallen off the map amid vague...

Sign up now!

Advertisement