Silas Aaron Hardoon

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Silas Aaron Hardoon

Chinese: 哈同
Also Known As: "Saleh"
Birthplace: Al-Amarah, Iraq
Death: June 19, 1931 (80)
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
Immediate Family:

Son of Bais Aharon Abraham Hardoon
Husband of Jialing Hardoon
Father of David George Hardoon; Reuben Victor Hardoon; Leo Wilson Hardoon; 羅友良; Nora H MacGregor and 17 others
Brother of Jacob Hardoon

Managed by: Private User
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About Silas Aaron Hardoon


Silas was born Sileh Hardoon (סאלח חרדון) into a poor Jewish family in Baghdad.[1][2] His family left Baghdad for Mumbai, India where he was educated at a charitable school funded by David Sassoon.

Hardoon traveled to the city of Shanghai, China in 1868 where he entered the employ of David Sassoon, Sons & Company as a rent collector and watchman. He rose quickly through the ranks of that company, displaying a talent for real estate. After leaving that company he expanded his interests into cotton, becoming a partner in E. D. Sassoon's and Company. Shrewd investments, particularly in properties on Shanghai's "Fifth Avenue," Nanking Road, eventually made him one of that city's wealthiest inhabitants. During future Chinese leader Mao Zedong's stay in Shanghai during early 1920, Mao lived in a property in today's Anyi Road owned by Hardoon.[3]

Hardoon lived with his Eurasian wife Luo Jialing (née Lisa Roos 1864-1941) in the Ai-li Park, a twenty-six-acre estate, and personally financed the printing of Buddhist writings. When he died in 1931, his personal fortune was estimated to be worth $650,000,000., which now is around $15,187,480,780.00 . At one point he was the richest person in Asia and one of the richest in the world. After Silas died he gave his earnings to the Hardoon family.[4]


1 ^ Betta, Chiara (2002). "Silas Aaron Hardoon (1851-1931): Business, Politics and Philanthropy in Republican Shanghai, 1911-1931". The Scribe. Retrieved 2008-05-27.

2 ^ David, Hardoon (2008). "The Hardoon Family Genealogy website". The Hardoons. Retrieved 2008-09-22.

3 ^ Phillips, Tom (December 28, 2013). "Chairman's old digs a potent symbol of the new revolution". The Daily Telegraph (p. 25).

4 ^ Dong, Stella (2000). Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-688-15798-X.

Source: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Educated in Bombay, he joined the firm of David Sassoon & Co., Ltd., switched to E. D. Sassoon & Co. and in 1911 launched into Shanghai real estate. He died worth $150,000,000, most of it representing properties on Shanghai's Fifth Avenue, Nanking Road known as "MingJiJiushi"

Silas’s first major independent real estate venture came with his marriage to Luo, i.e., several acres of land that she brought to the marriage (the latter apparently being a parting gift from her earlier French lover) which he, a year later in turn sold to Sassoon for joint development. The venture became a source of on-going dispute (especially between Luo and Mrs. Sassoon). Not coincidentally, Luo subsequently became Sila’s principal “spotter” for real estate opportunities and was probably the main factor behind the establishment of his own real estate development company in 1900 (14 years after they married) and his (second and final) departure from the Sassoon firm in 1911. He apparently left the David Sassoon firm 1882-1887/1888 to try his hand as an independent trader/broker, but had a difficult time competing with the British controlled trade, and returned to Sassoon about 1887/1888. In short, he pursued and married Luo when he was not employed by Sassoon.

There is a lot of anecdotal information (quite a bit of which is documented) about how Silas and Luo met, problems between Luo and the Sassoon family, how she and he were shunned by the British establishment (poor, Chinese and (worse) a half-breed marries non-conformist Jew), and much more about how the British establishment (including the Sassoon family) blocked or tried to block Silas Hardoon’s rise, how they tried to con him when building Nanjing Road, how he became aligned with the French establishment in Shanghai instead, so on and so forth.

Shànghai Exhibition Centre (Shànghai Zhánlan Zhongxin)

Built in 1955 with help from the Soviet Union (then a staunch communist ally), this somber, grandiose monument to socialist realism is yet another chapter in Shànghai's history of foreign architecture. Eye-catching on the outside, it's got a decaying air on the inside where there are regular uninteresting exhibits and a poorly displayed arts and crafts store. Before 1955, this was the site of the 10.5-hectare (26-acre) Hardoon Gardens, a colonial-era fantasy estate built by Jewish millionaire Silas Hardoon.

The Jews of Singapore - Joan Bieder

He served as life President of the Beth-Aron Synagogue and was a British Protected Person.

Before his death willed nearly all his fortune to his wife. Legal battles ensued with claimants to his estate bearing Hardoon name.
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Silas Aaron Hardoon's Timeline

Al-Amarah, Iraq
June 18, 1919
Age 68
Shanghai, China
Age 68
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
October 18, 1924
Age 73
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
May 18, 1925
Age 74
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
January 7, 1926
Age 75
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
Age 75
Shanghai, Shanghai, China
June 19, 1931
Age 80
Shanghai, Shanghai, China