Laurits Andersen was a Danish tobacco entrepreneur and prominent businessman in China from the 1880s until his death in 1928. He was the manager of the American trading firm Mustard & Co. in Shanghai, introducing machine-produced cigarettes to the Chinese market in the late 1800s, at a time when cigarettes were gaining enormous popularity elsewhere in the world. He attained late fame in his native Denmark when shortly before his death he donated a large sum of money to the National Museum, which he had visited frequently as a boy.
Laurits Andersen was born in a small village near Elsinore, Denmark, in 1849, and grew up in Copenhagen where he worked as an apprentice at a machine works. From 1870, he lived in East Asia, experiencing wars and revolutions and forming close bonds with the political elite in Imperial China. Laurits Andersen is a role model for later generations, displaying the courage to seek ones fortunes overseas, and showing that with drive, diligence, and willpower, and a preparedness to venture down untrodden paths, one can achieve ambitious goals.