Arnhold was established in 1866 when pioneering European traders, Jacob Arnhold and Peter Karberg set up a small trading company on Shameen Island, Guangzhou. The following year they opened an office in Hong Kong and in 1881 established their headquarters in Shanghai, heralding the beginning of a strong business presence in Hong Kong and throughout China.
By the turn of the century, 37 offices were in operation in China with buying offices in London, Manchester, Berlin and New York. Controlling interest in Arnhold passed to the powerful Sassoon Group in the 1930's and the business flourished until 1949 when, with the change of Government in China, the headquarters relocated to Hong Kong. Maurice Green, who had been associated with the company since the Sassoon takeover, acquired the controlling interest in Arnhold in 1957.