In The Emperor's Wake
The Six Companies
Though most Americans didn’t realize it, the Six Companies that ruled Chinatown were relatively benevolent organizations. They were formed to help the Chinese come from and return to China, to take care of the sick and the starving, and to return corpses to China for burial. Later, they tried to protect their people from the abuses San Francisco’s Chinese suffered at the hands of racist hoodlums. They were run by the richer and better educated among the immigrants, in the paternalistic manner typical of 19th century Chinese society.
By 1868 the original Kong Chow Company had split into six:
1. The Sam Yup Company,
2. The See Yup Company,
3. The Ning Yuen Company,
4. The Yeung Wo Company,
5. The Hop Wo Company,
6. The Hip Kat Company (the latter being the favorite among Chinese beatniks).
Any of these companies could be potential plot worthy. PCs could be involved or even control one of them, or be their enemies, depending on how the story and player interests go.