Ch'ien Yung-ming (1885-19 June 1958), financier, spent much of his career in the service of the Bank of Communications, of which he became chairman of the board of directors. After 1928 he held various economic posts in the National Government. He also rehabilitated the Chung-hsing Coal Mining Company, which became the second-largest colliery in China, and established the Chung-hsing Steamship Company and the Fu-hsing Steamship Company. Although his native place was Wuhsing, Chekiang, Ch'ien Yung-ming was born at Shanghai. He received his early education at the Yü-ts'ai Academy, the predecessor of the Nanyang Middle School. After he was graduated at the age of 16 sui, Ch'ien worked for a foreign firm in Shanghai for about a year to earn money for further studies. He then went to Tientsin, where he studied for a year at Peiyang College. After his return to Shanghai, he was married. Nothing is known about his wife. The next year Ch'ien received a government scholarship to go to Japan. From 1903 to 1908 he studied at Kobe Commercial College, specializing in business and finance. Although many Chinese students in Japan were drawn into the anti-Manchu activities of such groups as the T'ung-meng-hui, Ch'ien avoided political commitments. After his graduation from Kobe, he returned to China and taught at Nanking Commercial College from 1909 to 1911. In 1912 Ch'en Ch'i-mei, the minister of industry and commerce in the T'ang Shao-yi cabinet in the new republican government, sent Ch'ien Yung-ming to Peking to take over the defunct Board of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce of the Ch'ing government. After completing that mission, Ch'ien was made chief of the accounting section of the new ministry of industry and commerce. After a few months, he left Peking to go to Shanghai, where he cooperated with C. T. Wang (Wang Cheng-t'ing) in founding the China Express Company, a transport business. Two years later he went to Manchuria to conduct a survey of economic conditions for the National Industrial Bank of China.
In 1917 Ch'ien Yung-ming began his banking career; he joined the staff of the Shanghai branch of the Bank of Communications. In the previous year, that bank—a semi-governmental bank with the power of issue—had suffered a loss of public confidence by submitting to an order from Yuan Shih-k'ai to suspend the redemption of its notes, and it was being reorganized. Ch'ien was appointed assistant manager of its Shanghai branch. Two years later, in 1919, he became the manager. Under his direction, the Shanghai branch of the Bank of Communications adopted modern banking methods, revamped its internal organization, and expanded its operations. Thus, Ch'ien helped to reestablish public confidence in the bank and to consolidate its operations during a period of acute political unrest in China. He also served as chairman of the Chinese Bankers Association at Shanghai from 1920 until 1922. The operations of the Bank of Communications were complicated during the early 1920's by political conflicts in north China which had a direct bearing on the career of its general manager, Liang Shih-i (q.v.). In December 1921, supported by Chang Tso-lin (q.v.), Liang Shih-i became premier of the government at Peking. That appointment was strongly opposed by Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) and the Chihli clique, who forced Liang to resign. The ouster of Liang Shih-i became the immediate cause of a war between the Fengtien and Chihli factions in the spring of 1922. When Chang Tso-lin was defeated, it appeared likely that the Bank of Communications would be taken over by political leaders in north China. Ch'ien Yungming then suggested an arrangement whereby Chang Chien (q.v.), the veteran industrialist and former minister of industry, would nominally succeed Liang Shih-i as general manager of the bank. This was done, and Ch'ien himself became assistant general manager. He directed the affairs of the Bank of Communications from 1922 to 1925, during which period he succeeded in maintaining its independent status. However, when Liang Shih-i, with the support of Chang Tso-lin, was reinstated as the bank's general manager in 1925, Ch'ien relinquished his post. Already a well-known banker, Ch'ien Yungming won further recognition when the National Government headed by Chiang Kai-shek was inaugurated at Nanking in 1 927. He was named vice minister and, later, acting minister of finance, serving under Ku Ying-fen, then the titular minister. Ch'ien was transferred in 1928 to Chekiang province, where he served as commissioner of finance under Chang Jen-chieh (q.v.). In 1930 the National Government appointed Ch'ien chairman of the board, representing China, of the Sino-French Bank. He was also named Chinese minister to France, but he did not accept that diplomatic post. After leaving the Bank of Communications in 1925, Ch'ien Yung-ming became deputy director of the Joint Savings Society and Joint Treasury of the four major private banks of north China: the Yien-yieh Commercial Bank, the Kincheng Banking Corporation, the Continental Bank, and- the China and South Seas Bank. The director was the prominent financier Wu Ting-ch'ang (q.v.). When Wu Ting-ch'ang became minister of industry in the National Government in 1935, Ch'ien Yung-ming took over the management of the joint reserve board of the four banks.
In addition to his banking responsibilities, Ch'ien Yung-ming was associated with important industrial enterprises in north China. The Chung-hsing Coal Mining Company in Shantung province was a notable example. Located at Tsaochuang, Ihsien, Shantung, the coal mine had been founded in the 1870's. By the mid-1920's, its production was the third largest in China. By 1926, however, the Chung-hsing Coal Mining Company was in serious financial straits because of transportation and other difficulties caused by the recurrent internecine wars in north China; by 1928 production had come to a standstill. Ch'ien Yung-ming became general manager in 1929. Soon afterward a bank loan in the amount of CN$5 million was made to procure new equipment, electrify operations, and restore output. Four years later, agreement was reached with the Lunghai railroad to build a feeder line from the site of the mines at Tsaochuang to Lien-yun-kang on the coast, making it possible to haul coal directly from the mines to coastal steamers. In the middle 1930's Chung-hsing produced some 2,000,000 tons annually; its output was exceeded only by the Kailan mines, which produced 5,000,000 tons annually.
In 1938 Ch'ien Yung-ming was appointed chairman of the board of the Bank of Communications. During the war years, that bank, which had been rechartered in 1935 as one of the three principal government banks, was assigned new responsibility for financing industrial development. Among the important enterprises launched with its support were the Yu-t'ien Cotton Mill in Kunming, the Yu-hsing Textile Company in Changsha, and the Kweichow Enterprises Company in Kweiyang. The bank established the Kin-wei Textile Machinery Company to manufacture equipment for medium-sized mills. Under Ch'ien Yung-ming's direction, the Bank of Communications not only expanded its operations within China but also established overseas branches in Calcutta, Rangoon, Manila, and Saigon. In addition to his banking posts, Ch'ien served as a member of the People's Political Council after 1938, and he was elected a delegate to the National Assembly in 1947. After the war, he served as chairman of the Board of the Hsin Wen Pao, one of the leading Shanghai newspapers.
Ch'ien Yung-ming also played an important role in the expansion of China's shipping industry. He recognized the importance of developing shipping facilities for hauling coal from north China to major distribution points. In 1930, therefore, he established a shipping department as a subsidiary of the company. In 1937 that department was reorganized as the Chung-hsing Steamship Company, Ltd., with nine vessels. All of these ships either were sunk or were requisitioned by the National Government during the war. Ch'ien purchased surplus ships from the United States to revive the company after the war. He then operated ten vessels totaling 50,000 tons. He also established and became chairman of the board of the Fu-hsing Steamship Company. The National Government gave him a total of 1 1 ocean-going vessels aggregating 80,000 tons as restitution for wartime losses to the Chung-hsing Steamship Company. When the Communists gained power on the mainland of China in 1949, they took over most of the Chung-hsing vessels. The Fuhsing ships continued to operate from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the company's headquarters was moved to Taiwan. After the Chinese Communist regime was established, Ch'ien Yung-ming retired and took up residence in Hong Kong. He later moved to Taiwan, where he died at Taipei on 19 June 1958.