Research Context

Thai immigrants in Hong Kong

In the 1990s, many Thais have immigrated to Hong Kong to enjoy better living conditions because of the political stability and better economy in Hong Kong compared to most other Asian countries. According to the Census and Statistics Department, the population of Thais in Hong Kong reached as many as 14,342 in 2001, constituting 4.2% of the non-Chinese population in Hong Kong.

2001 2006 2011
Population of Thais in Hong Kong 14,342 11,900 11,213
% among the non-Chinese population in HK 4.2 3.5 2.5

Although the population of Thais in Hong Kong has decreased in the recent years due to the better economy in Thailand resulting in a reduced incentive of Thais coming to Hong Kong, and the replacement of Indonesian instead of Thai domestic workers because of their lower demand for salary and higher ability to speak Cantonese, Thais still make up a significant 2.5% of the ethnic minority population in Hong Kong.

education level graph.jpg

From the graph, we can see that the majority of the Thai population in Hong Kong have only attended Primary education, while a small part of them attended higher secondary education. This distribution has not changed much from 2001 to 2011.

Thai immigrants and Thai-Chinese in Hong Kong

In 2006, more than 70% of Thais in Hong Kong worked as domestic helpers. Others worked as cleaners, waiters, hairdressers and bank officers. Because of the huge number of Thai domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Thai Region Alliance was formed as an organization to help Thai domestic workers gain rights and educate them about workers’ situations in both Hong Kong and Thailand. They also provide legal support, strived for the rise in the minimum wage for domestic workers, and held many festive celebrations for them.

Apart from domestic workers, many Thais have settled in Kowloon City and started their own businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and fruit stalls selling Thai products. Therefore, Kowloon City is also known as “Little Thailand” or “Thailand in Hong Kong”.

Source of information and images:
Census and Statistics Department, H. K. (2011). 2011 Population Census.
DeWolf, C. (2010, April 7). A walking tour of Hong Kong’s Little Thailand. Retrieved from CNN Travel