Dr. John Wong

My research focuses on the flow of people, goods, capital and ideas. With a particular interest in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, I explore how such flow connected the region and its residents 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, my 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. I have published in various academic journals including Business History Review, Law & Literature, and Asia Major.

I am currently working on two projects. The first one connects the experience of the dairy industry in the Treaty Ports of Shanghai and Canton as well as the British colony of Hong Kong with the cow milk and soymilk consumption in post-war Hong Kong and Taipei. I examine the interactions between the consumers and the businesses producing and marketing such products as a discursive process in which the various participants produced and received confusing signals in the race towards modernity and economic prosperity. In my other project, I study the development of the airline industry in Hong Kong after WWII. This study explores not only global connections that new flight routes facilitated but also the imagination and manifestation of modernity through air travel.

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