Plastic: A Hong Kong Story

Toothbrushes, Buckets, and Everything in Between

In 1949, the Leung family from Shanghai founded Star Industrial Co., Ltd in Hong Kong. The family business, which started out making toothbrushes and other brush products, soon grew to include other household goods, such as plastic buckets and containers. Best known for their in-house brand, Red A, the company enjoyed great prosperity during Hong Kong’s post-war industrialisation and the export and manufacturing boom from the 1960s to 1980s.

Hong Kong and Beyond

From their iconic 1970s headquarters in San Po Kong, Star Industrial now produces over 600 items. Red A products, known for their quality, durability, and affordability, continue to be sold locally and internationally. Part of Red A’s success comes from the company’s ability to adapt product lines to the needs of the times and for different markets—particularly markets in developing countries.

Not only are Red A’s products ubiquitous, many of their designs are now recognised as iconic examples of ‘non-canonical’ design that represent Hong Kong’s vernacular culture.

Video Credits

Produced by M+
Curatorial Research: Jennifer Wong, Chloe Chow, Tina Pang
M+ Video Production: Lara Day, Chris Sullivan
Special Thanks: Jessica Leung, Alex Lai, Vincent Au-Yeung, Aric Chen