- More Than a Tea Planter: John Archibald Russell and His Businesses in Malaya, 1899-1933
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 83, Part 1, June 2010, No. 298
- pp. 29-51
- View Citation
- Additional Information
John Archibald Russell, who came from England to Malaya in the 1890s, founded Boh Tea in 1929, a tea-planting enterprise that has not only survived but has continued to grow and prosper. Prior to the tea business, J. A. had already engaged in a highly diversified range of businesses—tin mining, coal mining, rubber planting, construction, real estate, trading and manufacturing. This paper examines some of his businesses—tin mining, coal mining, manufacture of matches, construction, and real estate—which formed the crucial and integral parts of the early twentieth-century economic structure and operations of Malaya. These business activities of J. A. reveal the close association of local British entrepreneurs with the Chinese towkays and, more importantly, the vital role of local British-led enterprises in establishing the foundation for industrialization and modernization in the economic development of Malaya.