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Featured Researchers

Professor Po-yin Chung

Department of History
Faculty of Social Sciences

Professor Po-yin Chung



A renowned expert on Asia’s socio-economic and business history, Professor Chung Po-yin is described by her peers and audience as “a wonderful storyteller” who meticulously documents the adventures of various groups of diasporic traders in Asia combining historical depth and contemporary focus. She believes that history is a collective of lives lived. She is enthusiastic about writing the kind of history that tells stories as well as making arguments. In general, the history she is interested in is how these individuals and diasporic communities interpret and utilise the past to construct the present. In specific, her research focuses on historical and contemporary movements of people, goods and ideas that have connected South China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Her research reveals how, over the past few millenniums, diasporic groups shaped Asian societies, economies, identities, and politics. She examines how these groups have fabricated an “Asia” through their mobility and rootedness. Her research also highlights trading hubs, port cities and colonial outposts that connected empires, stimulated multi-ethnic trade among mobile populations, reared various trading diaspora, and brought about dynamic cultural and institutional blending.


Professor Chung earned a Bachelor of Arts (1st class honour) in History from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and obtained her Doctorate degree from the University of Oxford. After teaching at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts for a year, she joined HKBU in 1994. Her teaching interests are social and economic history. She was a Board member of the HKSAR Antiquities Advisory Board (2011-2017) and is currently a Council member of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust (2021-present), a member of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (2021-present), a Panel member of the HKSAR Building Appeal Tribunal (2018-present), as well as a member of the HKSAR History Museum Panel (2005-present). She has also served as Director of the Modern History Research Centre and engaged in a number of funded research projects, commissioned works and consultation projects (including one for a London-based business conglomerate - John Swire and Sons Limited and one for the Singapore-based philanthropic organisation – the Shaw Foundation).


In 2021, Chung (together with her colleagues) won a HK$2.5 million grant from the Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF) offered by the HKSAR Government for its project “The Legend of Shek Pik–Lantau Stories under Water”. Earlier, her team received a HK$2 million grant from the Built Heritage Conservation Fund (BHCF) for its project “Where ‘Hong Kong in the Sea’ and ‘Hong Kong on the Land’ Meet – a Study on the Conservation of Historic Building Clusters in the Ap Lei Chau-Aberdeen-Lamma Island Area”. These projects employ a sea perspective to revisit the history of Hong Kong and its neighbouring region. They utilise evidence from building clusters, stele inscriptions, official archives, and oral histories to illustrate the communal, cultural and social features of land settlers, fishermen and neighbouring floating communities and seek for solutions to conserve these significant heritages. In 2020-2021, her team received HK$2.87 millions from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department to conduct a “Mid-Autumn Festival-the Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance” and a “Food and Community Cohesion  the Story of Basin Feast” partnership projects. The team conduct field works, produce oral histories, and reorganise old documents and photos from historical and anthropological perspectives with the aim of retracing the history of these century-old intangible cultural traditions.



General Research Fund (Research Grant Council)

  • (2022-2025) Principal Investigator, "Trading Diaspora and Screen Connections: Ho Khee-yong Family and Kong Ngee Enterprises in Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang and Ipoh 1930-1970",  Research Grant Council

  • (2016-2020) Principal Investigator, "Trading Diaspora and Merchant Community-The Sassoon and Kadoorie Family Enterprise in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and Coastal China, 1830-1990", Research Grant Council

  • (2009-2014) Principal Investigator, “Islamic Endowments [the Waqf] and the Chinese Ancestral [Tong]: A Comparative Appraisal of the Evolution of Ethical Capitalism, 1830-2007”, Research Grant Council

  • (1999-2003) Principal Investigator, “Family, Ethnicity and Business Expansion – the case of the Eu Yan Sang firm in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, the Straits Settlements and British Malaya, 1876-1999”, Research Grant Council

  • (1997-1999) Co-investigator, “The papers of Robert Morrison”, Research Grant Council

Other Competitive Grants  

  • (2021-2025) Principal investigator, "Lautau Story Under Water - The Legend of Shek Pik (埋藏在水下的大嶼山故事—石壁傳奇)", Lantau Conservation Fund, HK

  • (2021-2024) Principal Investigator, “Ritual, Food and Community Cohesion - the Story of Basin Feast”, Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Government of HKSAR

  • (2020-2023) Principal Investigator, “Mid Autumn Festival: The Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance,” Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Government of HKSAR

  • (2018-2022) Principal Investigator, "Where “Hong Kong in the Sea” and “Hong Kong on the Land” Meet – A Study on the Conservation of Historic Buildings Clusters in the Ap Lei Chau- Aberdeen-Lamma Island Area", Thematic Research on Built Heritage Conservation, Development Bureau, the Government of the HKSAR

Research Outputs

 Commissioned Research Works (Selected)

  • 2022 -present: The Shaw Foundation & the Shaw Movie City Hong Kong Limited
    Topic: "Legacy and impact of Shaw brothers: immersive and interactive interpretation in twin cities (Singapore and Hong Kong)"
  • 2019-21: Civil Engineering and Development Dept, HKSAR.
    Topic: “Consultancy Services for Cultural and Historical Studies for Rural Villages Along Tung O Ancient Trail at Lantau”

  • 2017-18: Commissioned Research for the Hong Kong Housing Society”, HKSAR
    Topic: “A History of Public Housing in Hong Kong”

  • 2014-16: Commissioned research for John Swire and Sons Limited, London
    Topic: “A History of the Swire Enterprise in China, 1866-2016”

  • 2014-15: Commissioned research for the Hong Kong Museum of History, HKSAR
    Topic: “Merchant Communities in Hong Kong - the Story of the Portuguese”

  • 2013-14: Commissioned research for the Hong Kong Museum of History, HKSAR
    Topic: “Merchant Communities in Hong Kong - the Story of the Parsee (Zoroastrian)”

  • 2012-13: Commissioned research for the Antiquities and Monuments Office, HKSAR
    Topic: “A survey on the Lung Tsun Stone Bridge, Kowloon Walled City”

  • 2009-12: Commissioned research for the “Hong Kong Memory” project, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, HKSAR
    Topic: “A survey on the Shaw Brothers [movie enterprise] Archive Collection”

  • 2000-02: Commissioned research for the Hong Kong Chinese Chamber of Commerce, HKSAR
    Topic: “A Centennial History of the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce”

Other Research Publications (Selected)

  • Chung, Po-yin. “Floating in Mud to Reach the Skies: Victor Sassoon and the Real Estate Boom in Shanghai, 1920s–1930s.” International Journal of Asian Studies 16.1 (2019): 1-31.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Creating ‘Family’ Networks across Time and Space: The Alsagoffs in Singapore, 1824-2009.” Modern Asian Studies 52 Part 2 (2018): 458-91.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Finance and Politics in Guangdong, 1912-16.” Critical Readings on the Modern History of Hong Kong. Eds. Carroll, John & Chi-kwan Mark. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Vol. 4. 1061-1078
  • Chung, Po-yin. “From Ancestral Tong to Joint-stock Company – the Transformation of the Yip Kwong Tai Tong in South China, 1830s-1960s.” International Journal of Asian Studies 12.1 (2015): 79-105
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Transcending Borders: The Story of the Arab Community in Singapore, 1820-1980s.” Merchant Communities in Asia, 1600-1980. Eds. Lin, Yuju & Madeline Zelin. London: Pickering & Chatto Publishers, 2015. 109-122.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Law and its Impact on Diaporic Philanthropic Institutions: The Practices of Sinchew and the Waqf in the Straits Settlements.” Chinese and Indian Immigrants: Comparative s Perspectives. Eds. Bhattachaya, Jayati & Coonoor Kripalani Thadani. London: Anthem, 2015. 167-185.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Understanding Chinese Customs: the Irish Judges and the Sinchew Disputes in the Straits Settlements, 1830s–1870s.” Legal Histories of the British Empire: Laws, Engagements and Legacies. Eds. McLaren, John & Shaunnagh Dorset. London: Routledge, 2014. 141-156.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Chinese Enterprises Across Cultures: The Hong Kong Business Experience in Early Twentieth Century.” Treaty-port Economy in Modern China: Institutional Change and Economic Performance in Eight Empirical Studies. Eds. Myers, Ramon H. & Billy So. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. 202-218.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Chinese Tong as British Trust: Institutional Collisions and Legal Disputes in Urban Hong Kong, 1860s–1980s.” Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Vol. 44. Part 4. 1409-1432.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Migration & Enterprise: The Eu Yan Sang Firm and the Eu Kong Pui Family in Foshan, Penang and Hong Kong.” Penang and its Region: The Story of an Asian Entrepot. Eds. Yeoh, S. G. & K. Nasution. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2009. 180-190.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “The Chinese Movie Mogul and the Transformation of his Movie Empire – Loke Wan Tho Family and the Cathay Organisation in Southern China and Southeast Asia (1915-2000).” Asia Europe Journal 7.3 (2009): 463-478.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Moguls of the Chinese Cinema–the Story of the Shaw Brothers in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, 1924-2002.” Modern Asian Studies 41.4 (2007): 665-680.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Migration and Enterprises-three generations of the Eu Tong Sen Family in Southern China and Southeast Asia, 1822-1941.” Modern Asian Studies 39.3 (2005): 497-532.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Surviving Economic Crises in Southeast Asia and Southern China: The History of Eu Yan Sang Business Conglomerates in Penang, Singapore and Hong Kong.” Modern Asian Studies 36.3 (2002): 579-618.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Mobilization Politics: The Siyi Businessmen in South China.” Qiaoxiang Ties: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Cultural Capitalism in South China. Eds. Douw, Leo, Cen Huang & Michael Godley. London: Routledge, 1999. 45-66.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Chinese nouveau riche in Southeast Asia as Movie Moguls in Hong Kong-the Stories of Run Run Shaw & Loke Wen Tho.” Corporate Globalization, Business Cultures in Europe and in Asia. Ed. Albrecht Rothacher. London: Marshall Cavendish Academic, 2005. 26-35.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Western Law vs. Asian Customs Legal Disputes on Business Practices in India, British Malaya and Hong Kong, 1850s-1930s.” Asia Europe Journal 1 (2003): 1-13.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Hong Kong Merchants in New China, 1900-11.” Hong Kong, A Reader in Social History. Ed. David Faure. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2003. 335-364.
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Surviving Economic Crises in Southeast Asia and Southern China: The History of Eu Yan Sang Business Conglomerates in Penang, Singapore and Hong Kong.” Modern Asian Studies 36.3 (2002): 579-617.
  • Chung, Po-yin. Chinese Business Groups in Hong Kong and Political Changes in South China. London: Palgrave, 2003. Electronic edition. Hard copy printed in 1998 by Macmillan (London) and St. Martin (New York).
  • Chung, Po-yin. “Doing Business in Southeast Asia and Southern China-Booms and Busts of the Eu Yan Sang Business Conglomerates, 1876-1941.” Chinese Transnational Enterprises: Cultural Affinity and Business Strategies. Ed. Leo Douw. London: Curzon Press, 2002. 158-183.