Raymond Chow Man-Wai is a Hong Kong film producer, and presenter. He is one of the most important and influential film producers in the history of filmmaking for successfully launching martial arts and the Hong Kong cinema onto the international stage. As the founder of Golden Harvest, he would produce some of the biggest stars to ever grace the screen including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Tsui Hark and countless others.
Chow is a Chinese of Hakka ethnicity. He went to study abroad at the Shanghai St John's University, and graduated with a B.A in journalism in 1949. In 1951 he joined the Voice of America office in Hong Kong.
Chow's star on the Avenue of Stars
Chow was the head of publicity and the production chief of Shaw Brothers between 1958 and 1970. He leased Cathay's studio and contracted its exhibition chain of 104 cinema theatres in Southeast Asia. At the time Cathay was a predominant force in the Malaysian film industry.
When Cathay wanted to end the company's association in Hong Kong, Chow left Shaw Brothers to establish Golden Harvest in 1970. Chow capitalized on the Shaw Brothers who had a system that limited creativity, and was able to lure Bruce Lee into Golden Harvest, making it a serious competitor to Shaw Brothers.
Under Chow's leadership, Golden Harvest would become the cornerstone for Hong Kong cinema leading HK box office sales for two decades from the 1970s to 1980s.
Whilst he is credited with producing many films, in the audio commentary for the UK release of Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Tsui Hark in conversation with Bey Logan explained that this credit is mostly meaningless. Tsui stated that the producer role at the studio was often nothing more than to greenlight the project, and that producers such as Chow would rarely if ever set foot on the set during the making of the film.