The incredible untold story of the Bing Lee trends now
It's the Aussie electronics giant that started out as a small store in the Western Sydney suburb of Fairfield in 1957.
Today it's a household name, and Bing Lee now has 41 stores across Australia, bringing in a turnover of about $490million
Its backstory could be a movie epic, with elements of rare sacrifice, a heart-breaking ten year family separation, war, famine, poverty and a reunion that underpinned the family's extraordinary success.
There's a dash of Aussie comedy in there, too, with its lead adventurer, the eponymous founder Bing Lee, taking a liking to calling everyone 'cuz' in his adopted homeland because he wasn't great at remembering names.
Born in the port of Yantai in Shandong province, the smart young Bing Guin Lee studied commerce and worked as a wireless operator in China's merchant navy.
He traded Chinese linen in his 20s, but in 1937, after the Japanese invaded mainland China, Bing decided he didn't want to work for the occupiers.
The Bing Lee story began with the refusal by its studious founder, Bing Guin Lee, to work for Japanese invaders when they occupied China in 1937. He took what was then a radical decision to look for work in Australia
After Bing Lee was reunited with his family after 10 years, in 1957 in Sydney, he and son Ken started an electronics repair business in Fairfield. Pictured, one of the family's first stores
He took the radical decision to move to Australia, working with friends who were exporting local handicrafts down under.
He landed in Sydney with a plan to do what south-east Asian workers have done for generations, work overseas and send money home to his family: his wife, Show Fen Shou, and his son and daughter.
He intended to be in Australia for three years, but the outbreak of World War Two changed everything.
That began a painful separation between Bing, his young wife and children.
He would not have any contact with them until the end of the Second World War in 1945.
The Japanese occupation made it impossible for Bing to return home or to contact anyone back home.
Australian laws also forbade money from being sent to occupied mainland China.
Back in China, his family were battling to survive.
The family faced famine in the area where they lived and had to survive by trading their possessions and living on rations.
After the war ended, Bing's family joined a flood of refugees fleeing the devastation of their home caused by the Japanese occupation.
But the journey was long and arduous. It took three years for them to make it across China and to reach Hong Kong, where they finally boarded a ship headed for Sydney.
When Bing finally reunited with his family at Sydney wharf, it was 1948, and his son Ken was 17. He barely remembered his dad.
Bing made it his life's goal to keep his family together and build a better life for all of them.
The success of the Bing Lee business hinged on the father-son partnership of Ken (left) and Bing (right) Lee, pictured together in the 1980s
When co-founder Ken Lee died from cancer in 2007, the company marked his passing with a memorial at Sydney Town Hall and a motorcade of delivery trucks (pictured)
Current Bing Lee boss Lionel Lee and his wife Lisa. At the company's annual conference in 2022, he noted how proud he was that his four children are all 'involved' in the business
He put the last of his savings from working for the previous ten years into purchasing a local fruit and vegetable market.
They bought land at Fairfield, where the family business's headquarters remains more than 70 years after they started trading.
Ken Lee, determined not to leave his father to support the family alone, put his study ambitions on hold. He was driven to help the family business succeed.
In the mid-1950s, the father and son team spotted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the brand-new field of consumer electronics.
The star item in any suburban home was the television, which began broadcasting in Australia in 1956.
TCN-9 first broadcast in Sydney on October 27 1956, while HSV7 started in Melbourne a week later, kicking off with an interview with Mrs Edna Everage, Barry Humphries' iconic comic creation.
The 1950s was also the 'whitegoods' revolution, and housewives lapped up the dream of the 'automatic household'.
The most practical was the refrigerator, but the time saved to spend on leisure was a huge part of the appeal of washing machines, dishwashers and even smaller appliances like blenders and toasters.
Bing traded his fruit shop for an electrical repair shop in 1957, which he