Hong Kong creative workers in mainland China: The aspirational, the precarious, and the ethical

Yiu Fai Chow*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    China took up the discourses and agenda of creative industries increasingly in the first post-millennium decade. Amidst the attempt to turn from ‘made in China’ to ‘created in China’, would the translation of the creativity discourse usher in a better society in China? This article serves as one of the probing steps to ascertain what creativity enables and disables in China. I do so in an inquiry that departs from existing scholarship on two aspects. First, it follows a regional, cross-border labour flow. Second, it focuses on the people in the frontline of creative work. My study draws on the experiences of 12 Hong Kong creative workers who moved to Shanghai and Beijing. Their translocal and transcultural encounters allowed me to trace and foreground the particularities of creative practices in China. Like many fellow creative workers, my informants moved north to pursue better career opportunities. But they also wanted to do something more. Some of them managed to do so. At the same time, their stories were punctuated with disappointments, frustrations and continuous adjustments, categorized into what I call the precarious and the ethical. The findings of this inquiry pose questions on the hypothesis, the hype and the hope of creativity in China.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-62
    Number of pages20
    JournalChina Information
    Issue number1
    Early online date9 Dec 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)
    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Creative industries
    • Creative labour
    • Ethics
    • Precarity
    • Sino-Hong Kong relations


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