From Bruce Lee to Siobhan Haughey, Hongkongers have made their mark all over the world
- In fields ranging from business and academia to sport and film, Hong Kong has been the birthplace of legends past and present
- With the global spread of Hong Kong-born talent, our city’s ‘dream big’ attitude and can-do spirit are on full display for the world to see
Our bright lights don’t just shine here in the city; our talented luminaries are also making headlines and history overseas. Hong Kong has spawned cultural icons, sports heroes, political heavyweights, academic leaders and design gurus, among others.
Trailblazing US Ambassador Chantale Wong grew up in Hong Kong and Macau, and is the first LGBTQ person of colour and first openly lesbian US ambassador. She is the current US director of the Asian Development Bank.
Hongkongers have also made it into the upper echelons of academia. Hong Kong-born and raised Christina Lee Ka-yee was appointed in 2020 as the first female provost of the University of Chicago, which is renowned for hosting 97 Nobel Prize winners and former US president Barack Obama. Interestingly, Hong Kong is also home to its Asia campus.
Helming Purdue University, one of the top ranked public universities in the US, is Hong Kong-educated Mung Chiang. He is also Purdue’s first Chinese president.
Lai credited his Hong Kong upbringing for training him to be “fearless so that later in life, whenever I’m confronted with different situations, I find it easy to deal with them”.
For a place with few cars per capita, Hong Kong punches above its weight in car design. Another born and bred Hongkonger, Anthony Lo Wai-kei, is chief design officer of Ford Motor Company, the fourth largest car company in the world. Lo studied industrial design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was named “World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer” in 2012.
Hong Kong’s sizeable impact reverberates beyond our city. Our renowned “dream big” attitude and can-do spirit are on full display for the world to see. While I have only highlighted a few, there are many more Hong Kong talents who continue to leave their visible mark wherever they go. For a city of such small size, this is an impressive feat.
With so many Hong Kong luminaries shining on the world stage and making a global impact, I am proud to call myself a Hongkonger.
Bernard Chan is a Hong Kong businessman and a former Executive Council convenor