Taishanese people in Hong Kong

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Taishanese Cantonese
Hoi San Ngin
Total population
(Estimated: 2.0–2.5 million in Hong Kong)
Regions with significant populations
Kowloon and Hong Kong Island
Taishanese, Cantonese, and English
Predominantly Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Traditional Chinese religion. Minority Christianity.
Related ethnic groups
Other Han Chinese

Sze Yap Cantonese (Chinese: ; Taishanese: Sli Yip Gong Ong Ngin; Cantonese: Sze Yap Gwong Dong Yan; Mandarin: Si Yi Guang Dong Ren) represents the second largest Han group in Hong Kong after the group of people originating from the Guangzhou-Sam Yap region. The Sze Yap Cantonese comes from a region in Guangdong in China called Sze Yap ( ), now called Ng Yap, which consists of the cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Xinhui, Enping, Heshan and Jiangmen. The Sze Yap Cantonese group have contributed much to what makes Hong Kong a success. In the 1960s, Hong Kong people of Sze Yap origin represented about 30% of Hong Kong's total population and today this population still increases as more immigrants from the Taishanese speaking areas of Guangdong in mainland China continue to immigrate to Hong Kong.[1]


Taishanese (Chinese: ; Taishanese: Hoi San Wah; Cantonese: Toi San Wah; Mandarin: Taishan Hua) is the term used by many Sze Yap people in Hong Kong to refer their Sze Yap dialect to outsiders, even though each county has a distinct accent. For example, Kaiping people would refer themselves to non-Sze Yap Han Chinese as Taishan people (台山人) and their dialect Taishanese.[2]


Today many Hong Kong people of Sze Yap origin have become successful in areas such as the entertainment industry, business and politics. Hong Kongers of Sze Yap origin include Andy Lau, Beyond, Danny Chan, Kenny Kwan, Joey Yung, Ronnie Chan, John Tsang, and Andrew Li. The "father of Hong Kong cinema", Lai Man-Wai, has ancestry from the Sze Yap region of Guangdong province. As a result, Sze Yap people have dominated in the Hong Kong entertainment industry and play most major roles in the music and movie sectors. In many Hong Kong films, Taishanese can be heard, especially in many of Karl Maka's films, such as Merry Christmas and Aces Go Places.

It is said that over 100 famous people come from the Sze Yap region of Guangdong, making the region famous for producing more stars than any other city/region in mainland China. As a result, the local government in Jiangmen which administers the Sze Yap or Ng Yap cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Enping, Xinhui, and Heshan, decided to build a Stars Park called Jiangmen star park (江门星光园).[3]


Besides dominating the entertainment industry, they are quite dominant and influential in Hong Kong's Business Industry, such as the Bank of East Asia (東亞銀行), Lee Kum Kee (李錦記), Hang Lung Properties, Maxim's Catering (美心), Hysan Development Company Limited, Li & Fung (利豐) and many others.

Hong Kong immigration[edit]

As many Sze Yap in Hong Kong who are either second, third or fourth generation Hong Kongers, they speak Cantonese as their usual language and some may not know their ancestral origin. Therefore, that makes it hard to know the exact population, but based on the 1960s Hong Kong Census, it is probably right now about over 30% – 40%.

List of notable people[edit]

  • Lai Man-Wai (Xinhui, Guangdong) – "father of Hong Kong cinema"
  • Ti Lung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, known for his numerous starring roles in a string of Shaw Brothers Studio's films, particularly The Sentimental Swordsman (and its sequel), and in the classic A Better Tomorrow
  • Lee Quo-wei (Kaiping, Guangdong) – director of Hang Seng Bank and the Chinese University of Hong Kong; his ancestral home is in Kaiping
  • Lau Kar-leung (Xinhui, Guangdong), China – Hong Kong-based Chinese actor, filmmaker, choreographer and martial artist; best known for the films he made in the 1970s and 1980s for the Shaw Brothers Studio
  • Shawn Yue (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, singer and former model
  • Joey Yung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Cantopop singer and actress from Hong Kong
  • Andy Lau (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong Cantopop singer, film actor, and producer; one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (四大天王)
  • Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (Taishan, Guangdong) – Cannes Film Festival and five-time Hong Kong Film award-winning Chinese film and television actor
  • Alfred Cheung (Kaiping, Guangdong) – Chinese actor, director, writer and producer
  • Raymond Wong (Heshan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, film director, producer, screenwriter and presenter
  • Danny Chan (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, singer and songwriter; his hometown is Sijiu, Taishan
  • Kenny Kwan (Kaiping, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor and singer; former member of Hong Kong boy band Boy'z
  • Gillian Chung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress and singer; member of Hong Kong music group Twins
  • Eric Tsang (Jiangmen, Guangdong) – prolific Hong Kong actor, film director, film producer and television host, best known for hosting the Super Trio series on TVB over the course of 10 years
  • Beyond (Taishan, Guangdong) – the most famous Hong Kong rock band; all the band's members have origins from Taishan
  • Karl Maka (Taishan, Guangdong) – popular Hong Kong producer, director, actor and presenter; his hometown is Chonglou, Taishan
  • Donnie Yen (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director, action choreographer and film producer
  • Ekin Cheng (Enping, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor and Cantopop singer
  • Kenny Bee (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong singer, musician and actor; member of the Hong Kong English pop and Cantopop band the Wynners
  • Alan Tam (Xinhui, Guangdong) – award-winning Hong Kong Cantopop and English pop singer and actor
  • Hacken Lee (Xinhui, Guangdong) – award-winning Hong Kong based Cantopop singer and lyricist, actor, Master of Ceremonies and Association football sportscaster
  • Justin Lo (Kaiping, Guangdong) – American singer-songwriter, actor and record producer working in Hong Kong
  • George Lam (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong-based veteran Cantopop singer and actor
  • Gigi Lai (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress and singer
  • Bobby Au-Yeung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor best known for his comedic roles in many TVB television dramas
  • Adam Cheng (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong TVB actor and Cantopop singer; husband of Lydia Shum (肥肥)
  • Joyce Cheng (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong musician, writer, actor and performer; daughter of famous Hong Kong comedian Lydia Shum and veteran actor Adam Cheng
  • Chapman To (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, best known for specialising in comedic roles in films such as Infernal Affairs and Initial D
  • Jaime Chik (Kaiping, Guangdong) – Hong Kong TVB actress; married to Michael Miu
  • William So (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong Cantopop singer
  • Stephanie Cheng (Enping, Guangdong) – Hong Kong Cantopop singer
  • Edmond Leung (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, TV host
  • Wong He (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong Chinese actor and model; former Hong Kong policeman
  • Myolie Wu (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress and singer
  • Bosco Wong (Jiangmen, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor under TVB management and singer under East Asia Music
  • Maggie Cheung Ho-yee (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress
  • Gigi Leung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong singer and actress
  • Moses Chan (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor
  • Deep Ng (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor, songwriter, and singer
  • Michelle Yim (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress
  • Kenneth Ma (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Chinese Canadian actor from Hong Kong
  • Lee Kum Sheung (Xinhui, Guangdong) – founder of Lee Kum Kee (李錦裳)
  • Ha Yu (Xinhui, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actor
  • Christine Ng (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress
  • Flora Chan (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong actress
  • Pakho Chau (Kaiping, Guangdong) – Hong Kong singer
  • David Li (Heshan, Guangdong) – Chairman and Chief Executive of the Bank of East Asia (東亞銀行); his grandfather founded the bank
  • Ronnie Chan (Taishan, Guangdong) – one of the top 10 HK billionaires; chairman of Hang Lung Group and Hang Lung Properties
  • Victor Fung (Heshan, Guangdong) – Group Chairman of Li & Fung (利豐) group of companies; his grandfather founded the company
  • Lee Hysan (Xinhui, Guangdong) – land developer and entrepreneur in Hong Kong who founded modern-day Hysan Development Company Limited (希慎興業); known as the Li Ka-shing or the wealthiest man in HK in the early 20th century
  • Dr. James Tak Wu (Taishan, Guangdong) – founder of Maxim's Catering (美心),Hong Kong's largest food and beverage corporation and restaurant chain
  • Annie Wu Suk-ching (Taishan, Guangdong) – Hong Kong-based Chinese businesswoman and activist who founded Beijing Air Catering Ltd, the first joint venture company in the People's Republic of China; daughter of Dr. James Tak Wu