Hong Kong

Chinese and English are the two official languages in Hong Kong, as established in 1990 and effected in 1997 by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. This is due to the fact that Hong Kong, with a majority of immigrants from China, used to be a British Colony for a long time. During the colonial period, English was the official language and the language of business in Hong Kong. Approximately 3% of Hong Kong’s population today speaks fluent English, while almost 38% have basic conversational English skills. In recent years, the government has advocated for the continued use of English in primary and secondary levels of education. English mainly dominates urban centers and decreases in the interior parts of China, where Chinese is more prominent.

Although no particular dialect of Chinese is specified, Standard Cantonese is the dominant language spoken in Hong Kong. There are, however, several other Chinese dialects used in Hong Kong, most of which may be found in interior regions of the country, such as the Yue dialects of Weiteou, Tanka, Hakka, Minnan (Teochew, Hokkien, and Taiwanese), Taishanese and Shanghainese, to name a few.

Cantonese and Mandarin are the most commonly found in urban centers. Cantonese is used by the majority of households in Hong Kong who speak it, around 89% of them. The mainland uses simplified Chinese characters, but in Hong Kong, the language maintains its traditional Chinese characters. Although Mandarin Chinese is the widest spoken Chinese dialect everywhere else, Cantonese speakers of Hong Kong were isolated from mainland Mandarin influence as a result of British colonization. Most local schools at both primary and secondary levels use Cantonese as the instruction medium.

Mandarin is spoken by around 25% of Hong Kong households. Once more interactions with mainland China started taking place around 1974, Mandarin has experienced a spread in its usage, and today it is being increasingly used especially by parents who are from the mainland China and whose children often grow up speaking the language, especially those closer to border regions.

Other international languages in Hong Kong includes French and Japanese as the most studies foreign languages, as well as German, Korean, Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, Hindi, Vietnamese and Arabic.


Unlocking Language Excellence: Empowering Your Communication and Business Growth