Also in South District, but much closer to the encroaching Zhongshan City is the impressive mansion of the Kwok (Guo) family. Now fully restored both inside and out from its state pictured in 1999, this building is still owned by the family that established and owns the famous international Wing On Company.
The story of the Kwok brothers who left their village of Zhuxiuyuan in the late 19th century to work in Sydney before founding their department stores in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the early 20th century is well known. Less well known is the links they maintained with their home village. A Wing On branch operated in the nearby county capital of Shekki (now Zhongshan City) and donations established a substantial village school that still operates today.
However rural China in the years before 1949 was a dangerous place for those with wealth, and bandits and kidnappings were common. The Kwok family built the home pictured in the village but then, as now, did not live there. Instead the restored building is used for special occasions and stands as a symbol of the ongoing link with the qiaoxiang or home district. A link the administrators of the Kwok home village, as do other villages, do everything they can to encourage.