Hoklo people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
ChinaMainland China Fujian
 Taiwan Majority of Taiwanese people (~16,321,075)
 Hong Kong A minority population
 Macao A minority population
 Malaysia Largest group of Malaysian Chinese (~2,020,000)
 Singapore Largest group of Chinese Singaporeans (~1,118,817)
 Indonesia Largest group of Indonesian Chinese (~1,100,000)[2]
 Myanmar One of the 3 largest groups of Burmese Chinese (~720,000)
(figured combined with Cantonese)[3]
 Philippines Majority of Chinese Filipinos (~20,280,000)[4]
 Madagascar A signficant group among ethnic Sinoa
 United States >70,000[5]
Hokkien, Standard Mandarin Chinese, English;
Diaspora also speak their respective country's language(s)
Chinese folk religions (including Taoism, Confucianism, ancestral worship and others), Mahayana Buddhism and non-religious;
minority: Christianity.
Related ethnic groups
Fuzhou people and other Han Chinese
Minnan-speaking areas in South China and Taiwan. Only the speakers of Quanzhou-Zhangzhou dialects (also known as Hokkien) are seen as Hoklos.

The Hoklo people are Han Chinese people whose traditional ancestral homes are in southern Fujian of South China. They are also known by various endonyms (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hok-ló-lâng / Hō-ló-lâng / Ho̍h-ló-lâng / Hô-ló-lâng), or other related terms such as Banlam (Minnan) people (閩南儂; Bân-lâm-lâng) or Hokkien people (福建儂; Hok-kiàn-lâng). Hokkien people refer to themselves as "Tang people," (唐人; Tn̂g-lâng) which is synonymous to "Chinese people".

Throughout the course of Chinese and Asian history, there have been numerous Hokkien people who have made significant contributions to humanity in various fields, such as Lee Kuan Yew, Cai Qirui, Su Song and Teresa Teng.

In a narrow scope, "Hoklo people" refers mainly to people who speak and use the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and by many overseas Chinese throughout Southeast Asia. In a wider scope, "Hoklo people" can include speakers of other Min Nan dialects, such as Zhongshan Min and Zhenan Min.[6]


In Taiwan, there are three common ways to write Hoklo in Chinese characters (Hokkien pronunciations are given in Pe̍h-ōe-jī), although none have been established as etymologically correct:[citation needed]

  • 福佬; Hok-ló; "Fujian folk" – emphasizes their connection to Fujian province. It is not an accurate transliteration in terms from Hokkien itself although it may correspond to an actual usage in Hakka.
  • 河洛; Hô-lo̍k; "Yellow River and Luo River" – emphasizes their purported long history originating from the area south of the Yellow River. This term does not exist in Hokkien. The transliteration is a phonologically inaccurate folk etymology, though the Mandarin pronunciation Héluò has gained currency through the propagation of the inaccurate transliteration.
  • 鶴佬; Ho̍h-ló; "crane folk" – emphasizes the modern pronunciation of the characters (without regard to the meaning of the Chinese characters); phonologically accurate.

Meanwhile, Hoklo people self-identify as 河老; Hô-ló; "river aged".[7]

In Hakka, Teochew, and Cantonese, Hoklo may be written as Hoglo (學老; "learned aged") and 學佬 ("learned folk").

Despite the many ways to write Hoklo in Chinese, the term Holo[8][9] (Hō-ló / Hô-ló)[10] is used in Taiwan to refer to the ethnicity and language (Taiwanese Hokkien).



Hoklo architecture styled Lukang Longshan Temple.

Hoklo architecture is for the most part the same as any other traditional Chinese architecture, Hoklo shrines and temples have tilted sharp eaves just like the architecture of Han Chinese in all parts of China due to superstitious beliefs, however Hoklo shrines and temples do have a few special differences from the styles in other regions of China: the top roofs are high and slanted with exaggerated but finely-detailed decorative inlays of wood and porcelain.

The main halls of Hoklo temple are also a little different, they are usually decorated with two dragons on the rooftop at the furthest left and right corners, and a miniature figure of a pagoda at the centre rooftop. One such example of this is the Kaiyuan Temple in Fujian, China. Other than all these minor differences, Hoklo architecture is the basically same as any other traditional Chinese architecture of any other regions by Han Chinese.


Main article: Hokkien

The Hoklo people speak the Hokkien dialect which is not mutually intelligble with other Chinese dialects other than Teochew. Hokkien can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty,[dubious ] and it also has roots from earlier periods such as the Northern and Southern Dynasties and also a little influence from other dialects as well, as well as an indigenous substratum from the language of the Baiyue.

Hokkien has one of the most diverse phoneme inventories among Chinese varieties, with more consonants than Standard Mandarin or Cantonese. Vowels are more-or-less similar to that of Standard Mandarin. Hokkien varieties retain many pronunciations from Old Chinese that changed in other Chinese varieties. These include the retention of the /t/ initial, which is now /tʂ/ (Pinyin 'zh') in Mandarin (e.g. 'bamboo' 竹 is tik, but zhú in Mandarin), having disappeared[dubious ] before the 6th century in other Chinese varieties.[11] Hokkien has 5 to 7 tones or 7 to 9 tones according to traditional sense, dependng on variety spoken such as the Amoy dialect for example has 7-8 tones.


Further information: Fujian cuisine

Southern Fujian cuisine uses a lot of local seafood ingredients.


Further information: Wokou
Further information: Piracy § Asia

Hokkien people were involved in piracy in East and Southeast Asia.


In Taiwan[edit]

Main article: Hoklo Taiwanese

About 70% of the Taiwanese people descend from Hoklo immigrants who arrived to the island prior to the start of Japanese rule in 1895. They could be categorized as originating from Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, and Zhangpu based on their dialects and districts of origin.[12] People from the former two areas (Quanzhou-speaking) were dominant in the north of the island and along the west coast, whereas people from the latter two areas (Zhangzhou-speaking) were dominant in the south and perhaps the central plains as well.

During the two centuries of Qing rule, a large number of Hoklo men took aboriginal brides.[13] As some of the plains aboriginals also adopted Chinese customs and language,[14] many of those who today categorize themselves as Hoklo have some degree of indigenous ancestry. Thus, Hoklo culture in Taiwan has deviated from that in mainland China due to Austronesian and Japanese influences.[13]

Within the Taiwanese Han Hoklo community itself, differences in culture indicate the degree to which mixture with aboriginals took place, with most pure Hoklo Han in Northern Taiwan having almost no Aboriginal admixture, which is limited to Hoklo Han in Southern Taiwan.[15] Plains aboriginals who were mixed and assimilated into the Hoklo Han population at different stages were differentiated by the historian Melissa J. Brown between "short-route" and "long-route".[16] The ethnic identity of assimilated Plains Aboriginals in the immediate vicinity of Tainan was still known since a pure Hoklo Taiwanese girl was warned by her mother to stay away from them.[17] The insulting name "fan" was used against Plains Aborigines by the Taiwanese, and the Hoklo Taiwanese speech was forced upon Aborigines like the Pazeh.[18] Hoklo Taiwanese has repalced Pazeh and driven it to near extinction.[19] Aboriginal status has been requested by Plains Aboriginals.[20]

The deep-rooted hostility between Taiwanese aborigines and (Taiwanese) Hoklo, and the Aboriginal communities' effective KMT networks contribute to Aboriginal skepticism against the DPP and the Aboriginals tendency to vote for the KMT.[21]

When the Taiwanese Han "blood nationalists" tried to claim Plains Aboriginal ancestry as a tool to promote Taiwanese independence and to claim an identity separate from that of mainland Chinese, in spite of the fact that their own ancestry was overwhelmingly that of recent migrants from China with genetic tests showing differences between them and plains aborigines, their claims were decidedly rejected by the modern descendants of Taiwanese Plains Aborigines. The Plains Aborigines seek to preserve their own traditional culture since the abuse of claiming their ancestry by Taiwanese "blood nationalists" to create a uniquely "non-Chinese" Taiwanese identity based on blood negates the actual significance of having Plains Aborigine ancestors.[22]

Indonesia and Malaysian Hoklo or Hokkien[edit]

Main article: Malaysian Chinese
Main article: Chinese Indonesians

The Hoklo or Hokkien make up one of the Malaysian Chinese groups. There are also Hokkien or Hoklo among the Chinese Indonesians.

Haifeng, Lufeng and Leizhou in Guangdong, China[edit]

The people of Leizhou and the non-Hakka people in Haifeng and Lufeng are Hoklo people, in a narrow scope, but are often being mistaken as Chaozhou/Teochew people in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

North America[edit]

Between 1885 and 1949, there were only nine migrants out of nearly 100,000 to Canada who traced their origins to Fujian.[23]

After the 1960s, more Taiwanese Hoklo people began immigrating to the United States and Canada.

Notable Hoklo persons[edit]

This list includes people who are of either pure or partial Hokkien ancestry, in chronological birth arrangement with the oldest person first.


Scientists, mathematicians and inventors[edit]

Businessmen and entrepreneurs[edit]

  • Howqua, merchant who was at one time the most richest man in the world.
  • Ong Seok Kim, wealthy entrepreneur that financed China in war and many charities.
  • Tan Kah Kee, Chinese patriot who contributed greatly in gathering financial support to help China in wars and many schools.
  • Gan Eng Seng, a Chinese businessman and philanthropist who was one of the early pioneers of Singapore.
  • Lee Kong Chian, a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist active in Malaya and Singapore. He was the founder of the Lee Foundation and one of the richest men in Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Tan Tock Seng, was a Singaporean merchant and philanthropist. The Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore is named after him.
  • Lim Peng Siang, was a Singaporean banker. Peng Siang Quay in Singapore is named after him.
  • Carlo Tabalujan, Chinese Indonesian businessman and entrepreneur
  • Khoo Teck Puat, was a banker and hotel owner, who, with an estimated fortune of S$4.3 billion, was the wealthiest man in Singapore at one point.
  • Henry Sy, the richest man in the Philippines (named by Forbes in 2015).
  • Robert Budi and Michael Bambang Hartono brothers, the richest persons in Indonesia.
  • Kwik Kian Gie, the Indonesian Coordinating Minister of Economics and Finance (1999–2000).
  • Kwek Hong Png, Singaporean businessman, known for establishing Hong Leong Group
  • Mari Elka Pangestu (Phang Hoei Lan), the Minister of Trade of Indonesia (2004-2011).
  • Lim Goh Tong, was a prominent wealthy Malaysian Chinese businessman. He was once the richest man in Malaysia with a net worth of US$4.2billion
  • Kwek Leng Beng, is a Singaporean businessman with a net worth of US$7.4 billion.
  • Quek Leng Chan, a Malaysian businessman with a net worth of US$2.9 billion
  • Tan Lark Sye, a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist active in Singapore in the 20th century.
  • Wee Kheng Chiang, a Singaporean businessman. He was the founder of United Overseas Bank (UOB) and the father of Wee Cho Yaw
  • Wee Cho Yaw, a Singaporean businessman and the chairman of the United Overseas Bank (UOB) and United Industrial Corporation(UIC) in Singapore.
  • Tan Kim Seng, was a Peranakan merchant and philanthropist in Singapore in the 19th century.
  • Loh Boon Siew, also known as “Mr Honda”, was a Penang Hokkien tycoon and the first sole distributor of Honda motorcycles in Malaysia.



Martial Artists[edit]

Philosophers and writers[edit]

  • Li Zhi, Ming Dynasty philosopher.
  • Gu Hongming, famous Malaysian author
  • Jose Rizal a writer and one of the national heroes of the Philippines, a descendant of Cue Yi-Lam or Domingo Lamco.
  • Cai Xiang, a poet who had the reputation as the greatest calligrapher in the Song dynasty.
  • Qiu Jin, a Ming Dynasty revolutionary, feminist, and writer.
  • Kang-i Sun Chang, a Chinese-born American scholar of classical Chinese literature.
  • Antonio Cua, was an eminent scholar in Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy who was professor emeritus of philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
  • Fang Zhouzi, a Chinese popular scientific writer
  • Lin Yutang, one of the most influential writers of his generation, many of his books were bestsellers both in China and the Western world.
  • Chua Jim Neo, a cookbook writer from Singapore best known for Mrs. Lee's Cookbook, which features the recipes of Peranakan cuisine.
  • Amy Chua, lawyer and author of the international best seller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother which attracted huge media attention and ignited global debate about different parenting techniques and cultural attitudes that foster such techniques.


  • Jeremy Lin, an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA
  • Rudy Hartono, Indonesian badminton player who was one of the greatest badminton players of all time.
  • Lin Dan, a professional badminton player from Fujian. He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time World champion, as well as a six-time and reigning All England champion.
  • Lee Chong Wei, a Malaysian professional badminton player, who is the most successful Malaysian Olympian in history.
  • Koo Kien Keat, a former Malaysian professional badminton player.
  • Liem Swie King, former Indonesian badminton player
  • Christian Hadinata, former Indonesian badminton player
  • Eric Go, American Badminton player
  • Ong Poh Lim, a badminton player who won numerous national and international titles from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Known for his quickness and his aggressive, unorthodox playing style
  • Tan Boon Heong, a former World No.1 Malaysian male professional badminton player in the men's doubles event.
  • Hoon Thien How, a professional badminton player from Malaysia
  • Ang Peng Siong, is a swimmer from Singapore, who once held World Number 1 ranking in the 50 m freestyle.
  • Michael Chang, an American former tennis player.
  • Chen Haiwei, a Chinese competitive fencer. He has won three medals (one gold, one silver, one bronze) at the Asian Fencing Championships


  • Dick Lee, a Singaporean pop singer, composer and playwright.
  • Yao Chen, a Chinese actress whom Forbes ranks as the 83rd most powerful woman in the world
  • Wu Bai, is a Taiwanese rock singer and songwriter.
  • Jody Chiang, is Taiwan's most famous singer and is often referred to as the Queen of Taiwanese pop music.
  • Teresa Teng, was a Taiwanese pop singer. She was known for her folk songs and romantic ballads. She recorded songs in Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian and English.
  • Janet Hsieh, a Taiwanese-American television personality, violinist, author, and model based in Taipei, Taiwan. She is most well known for playing the Taiwanese Mandarin voiceover of Anna in the movie Frozen.
  • Han Kuo-Huang, a Chinese-born American musician.
  • Stella (singer), a singer-actress and former model who has become a pop star in much of the Chinese-speaking world, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • Sarah Chen, is a Taiwanese singer who became famous during the late-1980s and early-1990s. Her most famous hit songs, many resulting from her collaborations with songwriter Jonathan Lee, include Awakening Dream 夢醒時分
  • Katrina Law, an American actress. She is known for playing the roles of Mira in the Starz television series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Vengeance, and Nyssa al Ghul on The CW television series, Arrow.
  • George Hu, is an American actor and singer based in Taiwan. He speaks fluent Taiwanese, Mandarin, and English.
  • Rebecca Lim, a Singaporean actress who has acted in several English and Chinese dramas
  • Jack Neo, a Singaporean film and television actor, host and director.
  • Joshua Ang, Singaporean actor
  • Ah Niu, a Malaysian Chinese singer in Malaysia and Singapore
  • Michelle Yeoh, a Chinese Malaysian actress, best known for performing her own stunts in the Hong Kong action films that brought her to fame in the early 1990s.
  • Sarah Lian, a Chinese Malaysian actress and television personality based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Lim Kay Tong, Singaporean actor
  • Sharon Au, former Singaporean actress and host
  • Priscelia Chan, Singaporean television actress
  • Chen Guohua (actor), Singaporean actor
  • Joi Chua, Singaporean pop singer
  • Edmund Chen, Singaporean actor
  • Paige Chua, Singaporean model and actress
  • Baiyu (singer), Chinese-born American singer-songwriter and actress.


  • Lim Hak Tai, Singapore's pioneer artist at the turn of the 20th century, and was the person who inspired the Nanyang School of art form
  • Cheong Soo Pieng, a Singaporean artist who was a pioneer of the Nanyang art style
  • Liu Kang, Singaporean artist known for his Balinese-themed paintings
  • Tan Swie Hian, artist known for his contemporary sculptures and Chinese calligraphy
  • Cai Guo-Qiang, Chinese contemporary artist who works in New York. Much of his work draws on Maoist/Socialist concepts.


See also[edit]



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2005), "Indonesia", Ethnologue: Languages of the World (15th ed.), Dallas, T.X.: SIL International, ISBN 978-1-55671-159-6, retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Mya Than (1997). Leo Suryadinata, ed. Ethnic Chinese As Southeast Asians. ISBN 0-312-17576-0. 
  4. ^ Ng, Maria; Philip Holden (1 September 2006). Reading Chinese transnationalisms: society, literature, film. Hong Kong University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-962-209-796-4. 
  5. ^ 2005-2009 American Community Survey
  6. ^ Ben Sia, 《新加坡的漢語方言》 (The Chinese Languages and Dialects of Singapore),1988
  7. ^ Gu Yanwu (1985). 《天下郡國利病書》:郭造卿《防閩山寇議》. 上海書店. OCLC 19398998. 猺人循接壤處....常稱城邑人為河老,謂自河南遷來畏之,繇陳元光將卒始也 
  8. ^ Exec. Yuan (2014), pp. 36,48.
  9. ^ Exec. Yuan (2015), p. 10.
  10. ^ Governor-General of Taiwan (1931–1932). "hô-ló (福佬)". In Ogawa Naoyoshi. 臺日大辭典 [Taiwanese-Japanese Dictionary] (in Japanese and Hokkien). 2. Taihoku: 同府 [Dōfu]. p. 829. OCLC 25747241.  .
  11. ^ Kane, Daniel (2006). The Chinese language: its history and current usage. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 100–102. ISBN 978-0-8048-3853-5. 
  12. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 591.
  13. ^ a b Exec. Yuan (2014), p. 48.
  14. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 581.
  15. ^ Brown 2004. pp. 156-7.
  16. ^ Brown 2004. p. 162.
  17. ^ Brown 2004. p. 157.
  18. ^ "Pazeh writers get awards for preserving language". Taipei Times. 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  19. ^ "Pazeh poets honored at ceremony". Taipei Times. 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  20. ^ "Pingpu activists demand government recognition". Taipei Times. 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  21. ^ Damm, Jens (2012). "Multiculturalism in Taiwan and the Influence of Europe". In Damm, Jens; Lim, Paul. European perspectives on Taiwan. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. p. 95. ISBN 9783531943039. 
  22. ^ Chen, Shu-Juo (2009). How Han are Taiwanese Han? Genetic inference of Plains Indigenous ancestry among Taiwanese Han and its implications for Taiwan identity (Ph.D.). STANFORD UNIVERSITY. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  23. ^ Yu, Henry, edited by Tan, Chee-Beng, Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora p. 110
  24. ^ "Xie Xide" A talented female physicist" Check |url= value (help). Xiamen University. 2012. 
  25. ^ http://newppt.edu.online2.sh.cn/shgbnew/2010/F/20100202014/lecture/lecture.htm  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ "Pedro Lee Singson Gotiaoco (Go Bun Tia) (1856 - 1921) - Genealogy". Geni.com. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  27. ^ Low, Shawn; McCrohan, Daniel (2012-07-01). Singapore. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781742208541. 
  28. ^ 吴作栋 新加坡前总理吴作栋盛赞千岛湖开元]
  29. ^ Lee, Kuan Yew (1998). The Singapore Story - Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Times Editions. pp. Ch 2–4. ISBN 978-9812049834.