Associate Professor

Wong, John D.O.

School of Modern Languages & Cultures
PhD Harvard University
MA, BA Harvard University


John D. Wong’s research focuses on the flow of people, goods, capital and ideas. With a particular interest in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta/Greater Bay Area, he explores how such flows connected the region to the Chinese political center in the north as well as their maritime partners in the South China Sea and beyond.

Studying the China trade in the context of early-nineteenth-century global exchange, his first monograph, Global Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The House of Houqua and the Canton System (Cambridge University Press, 2016), demonstrates how China trade partners sustained their economic exchange on a global scale long before Western imperialism ushered in the era of globalization in a Eurocentric modern world.  In the newly published Hong Kong Takes Flight (Harvard, 2022), John explores the development of commercial aviation in Hong Kong as the city developed into a powerful economy after WWII.  By not accepting Hong Kong’s development into a regional and global hub as preordained, this study aims to describe globalization and global networks in the making.

His recent publications have appeared in business history journals such as Business History Review and Enterprise & Society, as well as journals with a focus on area studies such as the Journal of Asian Studies and Journal of Southeast Asian Studies.  In 2022, John joined the editorial board of Business History.  He also launched with the Hong Kong University Press a new book series Asian Business Histories for which he serves as an editor.

John received his BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Chicago, MBA from Stanford University, and PhD in History from Harvard University. He worked for a number of years in finance and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

KE Projects

"Soy Sauce across Asia: Tradition, Taste, and Technology.” Singapore Heritage Festival (2021)

“學人串社科 2020”[Scholars take on social sciences], RTHK. Locating/situating Hong Kong 何處香港 (2020)

“歷史係咁話 2019” [So says history], RTHK. Commercial aviation in Hong Kong 曾經天上三千劫 (2020)

“Historical/Sociological Perspectives on Civil Unrest in Hong Kong,” Civil Unrest in Hong Kong Conference, Centre for Comparative and Public Law, Faculty of Law (2020)

“塑造一個跨國品牌——十九世紀早期中外貿易與伍浩官的畫像.” Lo Kwee Seong Memorial Lecture, Colloquium on Hong Kong, Art, and Global Exchange in Maritime Trade History. Hong Kong Museum of Art (2020)

Languages in Hong Kong 挺粵落英不普通, RTHK. Commercial aviation in Hong Kong (2019)

Consultant, “白銀帝國 Empires of Silver,”a three-episode documentary series that explores how silver shaped the history of our world, from the 16 century to the present day. (2019)

“The Making of a Special Relationship: Houqua and His American Business Partners in the Early Nineteenth Century.” Hong Kong Maritime Museum.  (2019)

“Introduction to Hong Kong’s Law, History and Culture.” Former Fanling Magistracy. Cultural Ambassadors Programme, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (2018)

“Between two episodes of social unrest below Lion Rock: from the 1967 riots to the 2014 Umbrella Movement” 獅子山下的兩場社會動盪:從六七暴動到2014年雨傘運動.”Hong Kong Museum of History (2018)

“Taking Flight from Below the Lion Rock: Postwar Air Travel in Hong Kong” 獅子山下起飛:香港航空及旅遊業戰後發展. Hong Kong Museum of History (2016)

“Synesthesia Hong Kong,” Knowledge Exchange, the University of Hong Kong,  (2015)

Tel. No.




531, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

HKU Scholars Hub


Region and Language

Hong Kong, Pearl River Delta / Greater Bay Area, Greater China, Southeast Asia, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese

Research Area

Business history, Hong Kong Studies, China history

Key Publications



Courses offered in