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The Swire Group is a diversified conglomerate, headquartered in Swire House in the City of Westminster, London. It controls a large range of wholly owned businesses, including deep-sea shipping, cold storage, road transport, and agricultural activities, along with energy and oil businesses and investments. Swire controls a large property empire in Asia - mainly Hong Kong. The current chairman is Barnaby Swire. Taikoo (??) is the Chinese name of Swire. It serves as the brand name for businesses such as Taikoo Cube Sugar and Taikoo Shing. The Swire Groups privately owned parent company is John Swire & Sons Limited. The Swire Group, started by John Swire (1793–1847) in 1816, had its beginnings as a modest Liverpool import-export company based mainly on the textile trade. John Swires 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 firms 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.[citation needed] Four years after the establishment of the Peoples 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.[citation needed].
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