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Hong Kong: Becoming a Chinese global city

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Wednesday 4.30pm – 6.20pm

Lecture venue

Course description

This course introduces to students a sociological approach to understanding Hong Kong as a Chinese global city. It examines its development into an international metropolis by tracing back to its history of economic development, migration and cultural identity.

It also looks into the attendant social issues and multiple challenges with its positioning as the ‘Asia’s World city’, in the face of the volatile global market and deepening integration with mainland China.

This course encourages students to engage in independent learning through sensitizing them to the diversity of experience and concerns of people and communities in their everyday life. With the conceptual tools, empirical knowledge and workshops provided, the course guides students to critically reflect upon the nature and seeming ‘natural course’ of Hong Kong’s development as a global city.

Course learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, you should be able to:

  • Identify the key features of Hong Kong’s colonial history and development into a Chinese global city
  • Make sense of the interrelationship between Hong Kong’s migration patterns, economic development, cultural identity formation and place-based practices
  • Discern and analyze the social issues and multiple challenges faced by Hong Kong brought about by intensified globalization and changing China-Hong Kong relations, in particular in relation to social divisions and inequality in an urban environment
  • Appreciate the diversity of everyday practices of the local population and what it means for a ‘World City’
  • Reflect critically upon Hong Kong’s maintenance and repositioning as a Chinese global city through engaging one’s learning in daily observations and group projects involving independent research into the local community


Guest lecture attendance10%
Tutorial participation and presentation20%
Participation in group project consultations20%
Project presentation (including peer review)30%
Reflective essay20%

Required reading

Chiu, S. W. and Lui, T. L. (2009) Hong Kong: Becoming a Chinese global city. Routledge.

Goodstadt, L. F. (2013) Poverty in the midst of affluence: How Hong Kong mismanaged its prosperity. Hong Kong University Press.

Ku, A. S. and Pun, N. (Eds.) (2004) Remaking citizenship in Hong Kong: Community, nation, and the global city. Routledge.

Mathews, G., Ma, E., and Lui, T. L. (2008) Hong Kong, China: Learning to belong to a nation. Routledge.

Siu, H. F. and Ku, A. S. (Eds.) (2008) Hong Kong mobile: Making a global population. Hong Kong University Press.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

This course challenged my perceptions about Hong Kong in many ways, provided new perspectives to think about things happening around me, and stimulated me to reflect on my experience in Hong Kong.
– Fred Zhuo, 4th year Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science student