Swire Group (simplified Chinese: 太古集团; traditional Chinese: 太古集團; pinyin: tài gǔ jí tuán) is a Hong Kong- and London-based diversified conglomerate. Many of its core businesses can be found within the Asia Pacific region, where traditionally Swire's operations have centred on Hong Kong and mainland China. Within Asia, Swire's activities come under the group's publicly quoted arm, Swire Pacific Limited.[1] Elsewhere in the world, many businesses are held directly by parent company, John Swire & Sons Limited, in Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Africa, Sri Lanka, the US and UK. Swire controls a large property empire in Asia - mainly Hong Kong. The current chairman is Barnaby Swire. Taikoo (Chinese: 太古; pinyin: tài gǔ) is the Chinese name of Swire. It serves as the brand name for businesses such as Taikoo Sugar and Taikoo Shing.

Swire Group
Traded asSEHK: 19 (A-shares)
SEHK: 87 (B-shares)
Founded1816 (1816)
HeadquartersHong Kong (Operational HQ) London (Registered HQ)
(Hong Kong but with registered office in London for John Swire & Sons Limited (UK) and some other related entities and subsidiaries)
Key people
Barnaby Swire, Chairman, John Swire & Sons Limited, Merlin Swire, (Chairman, Swire Pacific)
ProductsProperty, aviation, beverages, food chain, shipping, offshore support services, agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale and retail, mining etc.
Number of employees
SubsidiariesSwire Pacific, Swire Properties, HAECO, Steamships Trading Company, Swire Beverages, The China Navigation Company, Swire Resources, Swire Foods


The Swire Group's privately owned parent company is John Swire & Sons Limited.[2] The Swire Group, started by John Swire (1787–1847) in 1816, had its beginnings as a modest Liverpool import-export company based mainly on the textile trade.[3] John Swire's sons, John Samuel (1825-1898) and William Hudson (1830-1884) took the firm overseas and it was John Samuel Swire in particular whose entrepreneurial instincts would be at the root of the firm's successes in years to come. In 1861, John Swire & Sons Limited began to trade with China through agents Augustine Heard & Co. In 1866, in partnership with R.S. Butterfield, Butterfield & Swire was established in Shanghai. Four years later, a Hong Kong branch of Butterfield & Swire was also opened.

Four years after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Butterfield & Swire closed all of its China offices. In 1974, Butterfield & Swire in Hong Kong was renamed John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd.


The Swire Group's core businesses in Hong Kong are held by the publicly quoted Swire Pacific Limited.[4] The Group's core businesses are grouped into: property, aviation, beverages and food chain, marine services, and trading and industrial. Swire Pacific Limited is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Swire Pacific Limited. In 1948, Swire Pacific acquired Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's largest airline, and remains as the largest shareholder with 45% shareholding.

Swire Properties

Incorporated in 1972, Swire Properties develops and manages commercial, retail and residential properties, with a particular focus on mixed-use development in prime locations at major mass transportation intersections.[5] The Company's investment portfolio in Hong Kong totals approximately 17.8 million sq ft (approximately 1.66 million square metres[note 1]) of gross floor area, with Pacific Place,[6] Island East[7] as its core holdings. In addition to Hong Kong, the Company has a presence in China, the United States and the United Kingdom. In China, Swire Properties has a portfolio amounting to approximately 12.9 million sq ft (approximately 1.20 million square metres[note 1]), the majority of which is under construction. The five projects consist of mixed-use developments in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu,[8] with Sanlitun Village[9] and The Opposite House hotel[10] in Beijing being the best-known among them. In 2008, the Company formed Swire Hotels[11] to create and manage urban hotels in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom.

Swire owns a majority of Steamships Trading Company Limited (ASX: SST), a Papua New Guinea property company.

Swire Pacific Offshore Holdings Limited (SPO)

SPO is the wholly owned subsidiary of Swire Pacific and charters vessels that support the offshore oil and gas industry worldwide. Swire Pacific Offshore owns a fleet of 69 offshore vessels.[12] The China Navigation Co. is the deep-sea shipping arm of John Swire & Sons Ltd.

John Swire & Sons (Green Investments) Ltd

John Swire & Sons (Green Investments) Ltd has acquired Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy. Argent Energy pioneered large scale commercial biodiesel production in the UK when it started production at its plant near Motherwell in Scotland in 2005.[13] The firm makes its road fuel by recycling wastes and residues from other industries – specifically used cooking oil which is a waste from the food industry, tallow from the meat industry, and sewer grease.

The acquisition in 2013 for an undisclosed sum sees the firm remain in private ownership and it will continue to operate independently. It employs 300 people. As of 2018 Argent Energy has expanded into Ellesmere Port, UK with a Biodiesel Refinery, Pre-Treatment Plant and Oil Terminal. Argent Energy also acquired a Biodiesel Refinery in Amsterdam in November 2018.

Swire Oilfield Services

Established in 1979, it is the world's largest supplier of specialist offshore cargo carrying units to the global energy industry and is a leading supplier of modular systems, offshore aviation services, fluid management.

Coca-Cola bottling license

Swire is an anchor bottler in the Coca-Cola System. It is the bottler of Coca-Cola and its related products in Hong Kong, Taiwan and most of China, as well as parts of 13 states in the United States, mainly the mountain west region. This territory represents a population of 420 million people.[14]

In October 2011, Swire Beverages exercised its monopoly to increase the price of Coca-Cola when it was found that the 759 Store, a Hong Kong chain store selling groceries, was selling below its suggested retail price.[15]


See also


  1. Gross floor area in respect of 100% of the properties excluding car park areas and not on an attributable basis.


  1. "swirepacific.com - Swire Pacific Limited". www.swirepacific.com. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  2. The Archives of John Swire & Sons are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. http://www.soas.ac.uk/library/archives/
  3. The archives of John Swire & Sons Ltd are held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, http://www.soas.ac.uk/library/archives/
  4. "The Official Website of Swire Pacific". swirepacific.com. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  5. "The Official Website of Swire Properties". Swireproperties.com. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  6. "Pacific Place Hong Kong". Pacificplace.com.hk. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  7. "Island East". Island East. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  8. "Future Developments". Swire Properties. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  9. "Sanlitun Village Shopping & Life Style Centre". Sanlitunvillage.com. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  10. "Boutique Luxury Hotel – Beijing". The Opposite House. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  11. "Home page". swirehotels.com. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  12. "Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Swire. p. 39.
  13. "About". Argent Energy. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. "Business Activities – Beverages Division". Swire. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  15. 759 Store#Coca-Cola incident
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