After reading Chinese at the University of Hong Kong (and fleeing to mainland China just before the Japanese invasion in 1941), D C Lau went in 1946 to Glasgow to read philosophy. In 1950 he joined the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to teach Chinese philosophy. He was appointed in 1965 to the newly-created Readership in Chinese Philosophy and in 1970 became Professor of Chinese in the University of London. In 1978 he returned to Hong Kong to take up the Chair of Chinese Language and Literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. On his retirement in 1989, he began to computerise the entire body of extant ancient Chinese works, with a series of sixty concordances.