Hoe Fook Ling was born in Ningbo Zhejiang, the only son of a Sundry Manager, was sent to Japan to learn the art of piano making by his father. In 1920, he decided to emigrate from Ningbo China to Singapore leaving his wife, his only son and 6 daughters behind.
In Singapore, he setup a piano business called Union Piano Co. and a branch in Malaysia (then known as Malaya) with a close relative. Not long after, he successfully built his first piano in his workshop under the brand ‘Kinner‘. Unfortunately, his father was very ill and at the age of 48 he gave up everything to his relative in Singapore and return to China to take care of his father.
By 1850s, Shanghai already had a piano shop, Moutrie & Company. It was the first piano company that started with the sale and maintenance of pianos and other instruments in China. In 1890, Moutrie built the first piano factory in Shanghai with English workers and soon recruit Chinese workers from Ningbo – famous for their woodworking skills. Over the years, their pianos enjoyed great recognition in China and were exported to Southern Asian countries.
His son, Hoe Ah Choy chose the same career paths as his father joined the company as a piano apprentice. Later, in 1936 at the age of 25, he was sent to Malaysia (then known as Malaya) by the company as a piano tuner and repairer. Eventually, Moutrie & Company closed down in the early 1950s, as did other foreign enterprises.