The first Jews in Hong Kong began arriving shortly after it was ceded to Great Britain by China in 1842. As most of the Jews were transfers from such places as Canton, the community did not grow very fast.
Most of the early Jews were from Baghdad and had connections to the Sassoon family. In the early 1880's there were probably not more than 60 or 70 Jews in Hong Kong, most if not all were Sephardic. Up until the late 1950's the population did not grow a great deal, most likely never more than 300 Jews during this time. The change that took place however is that in this time the community evolved to where probably 2/3 were now Ashkenazic. Today, the Jewish community numbers about 7500. Some of the major milestones within the community are:
- The Jewish Community was first established in 1857.
- The Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery, located in Happy Valley on the Island of Hong Kong was established by a grant in 1858. It was expanded in 1904.
- First synagogue established in 1870.
- New synagogue in memory of Leah Sassoon built in 1881.
- Only Jewish governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mathew Nathan served in early 1900's.
Today, the majority of Jews in Hong Kong are from the United States, Great Britain and Israel.