Lee Kum Kee Company Limited
Founded1888; 135 years ago (1888)
FounderLee Kum Sheung
Tai Po, New Territories
Key people
Charlie Lee (Chairman)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese李錦記有限公司
Simplified Chinese李锦记有限公司
U.S. LKK factory in Industry, California
U.S. LKK factory in Industry, California

Lee Kum Kee Company Limited (Chinese: 李錦記有限公司) is a Hong Kong-based food company which specializes in manufacturing a wide range of Chinese and Asian sauces. Founded by Lee Kum Sheung in 1888 in Nanshui, Guangdong. Lee Kum Kee produces over 200 Chinese-style sauces, including oyster sauce,[2] soy sauce, hoisin sauce, XO sauce, one-step recipe sauce, chili sauce, cooking ingredients, and dipping sauce. The group also purchased London's landmark Walkie-Talkie skyscraper in July 2017 for £1.3bn, which was a record-breaking transaction for a single building in the UK.[3]


The company is based in Hong Kong but its products are sold in over 100 countries worldwide including China, and in many overseas markets, including North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Its primary brand, Lee Kum Kee (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: 李锦记; Jyutping: Lei5 Gam2 gei3; pinyin: Lǐ Jǐn jì; lit. 'the Lee Kum brand') is popular throughout China and the overseas Chinese community. Lee Kum Kee was named Most Popular Brand On-line at the 2004 Hong Kong Top Brand Awards.

The company was founded by Lee Kum Sheung (traditional Chinese: 李錦裳; simplified Chinese: 李锦裳; Jyutping: Lei5 Gam2soeng4; pinyin: Lǐ Jǐncháng), a chef at a small eatery in Nanshui, Zhuhai, Guangdong that sold cooked oysters.[1] In 1888, he formed the Lee Kum Kee company to market his version of oyster sauce, a staple sauce, seasoning and condiment in Cantonese and southern Chinese cuisine. It continues to be run as a family business by the Lee family.

From 1902 to 1932, the company's office was located in Macau and in 1932 it moved to its newest headquarters in Hong Kong. Lee Kum Kee opened a United States of America-based headquarters in City of Industry, California in Greater Los Angeles followed by a Canadian headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. Production bases are located in Xinhui, Huangpu, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Los Angeles. The Xinhui factory is the largest operation occupying 1,700 acres.[4]

In April 2016, the Lee Kum Kee family donated $21 million to fund Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, to "help identify how positive aspects of living can lead to better health and a longer life"[5] and "coordinate research across many disciplines at Harvard University" and "understanding the complex interplay between positive psychological well-being and human health."[6][7][8][9][10][11]

The family was worth an estimated $15 billion in 2019.[12]

Food safety

In 2000–2001, Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) identified various brands of Chinese and South-East Asian sauces, including Lee Kum Kee products, with suspected human carcinogens 3-MCPD and 1,3-dichloropropanol (1,3-DCP) contamination at levels hundreds of times higher than those deemed safe by the UK and European Union. Lee Kum Kee was not singled out in what appeared to be an industry-wide problem. The results were published in a June 2001 report.[13]

Lee Kum Kee responded by stating that the affected products were all manufactured before 1999 when the manufacturing technology was updated; as a result, from 1999 their products contain no DCP.[13][dead link] In a press release, Lee Kum Kee said that FSA cleared Lee Kum Kee's name in a separate statement to the industry issued within 24 hours of the FSA's initial report which indicated that "None of the products sampled from major retail chains posed any safety concern" and stressed that "there was no reason to avoid Chinese food."[14][15] Lee Kum Kee also claimed that Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of the Government of Hong Kong has indicated that all Lee Kum Kee products in Hong Kong complied with safety standards as evidenced by a separate study.[16]

Additionally, in July 2001, Lee Kum Kee submitted to FSA certificates of analysis for the presence of 3-MCPD which showed that the soy sauce imported into Europe complies with the proposed EU limit for 3-MCPD.[17]

Lee Kum Kee Group

Lee Kum Kee Group, or LKK Group, oversees all LKK-related businesses beyond just the sauce business, including LKK Health Products, Happiness Capital, and a charitable foundation.

Group Chairmen

  1. Lee Kum-sheung (1888–1920)
  2. Lee Shiu-nan (1920–1972)
  3. Lee Man-tat (1972–2021)
  4. Charlie Lee (2021–present)[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b a"About Lee Kum Kee". Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Oyster Flavored Sauces". Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  3. ^ Correspondent, Tom Knowles, Property. "London's Walkie Talkie building sold for £1.3bn". Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  4. ^ "Feature: CHINESE NEW YEAR - Josh Loeb gets a taste of the Orient with food company LKK - West End Extra". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  5. ^ Family of Chinese oyster sauce empire gives $21 million to Harvard, Apr 25, 2016, 6:13am EDT
  6. ^ About the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness
  7. ^ Shimokazi, K.R. $21 Million Gift Launches Center for Health and Happiness, The Harvard Crimson, April 29, 2016
  8. ^ Harvard Has a New Center for Happiness: There's more to health than the absence of disease. Hamblin, J. The Atlantic. April 26, 2016
  9. ^ INTERVIEW: Harvard University explores happiness, health with gifted $21 million. Osler, C. Daily Free Press, Boston University. April 28, 2016
  10. ^ Harvard Chan School Communications. A quest for happiness: Gift will fund Harvard center to study how to increase everyday joy and health. Harvard Gazette. April 22, 2016
  11. ^ Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness
  12. ^ Schmidt, Blake (29 August 2019). "A $15 Billion Oyster Sauce Family Plots to Survive 1,000 Years". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Food Standards Agency: Survey of 1,3-Dichloropropanol (1,3-DCP) in Soy Sauce and Related Products (18 June 2001)". Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  14. ^ "Safety of Lee Kum Kee Products Confirmed by External Bodies -- re> HONG KONG, June 22 /PRNewswire/ --". 22 June 2001. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  15. ^ Lee Kum Kee (19 June 2001). "The public can be assured that all Lee Kum Kee products are safe and of the highest... -- June 19, 2001 /PR Newswire UK/". Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  16. ^ "HONG KONG: Safety of Lee Kum Kee Products confirmed by external bodies". Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Food Standards Agency: Soy sauces and related products - Further information (21 June 2001)". Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  18. ^ "Lee siblings".