Teochew People
潮州人 / 潮汕人 / 汕頭人 / 揭阳人
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Mainland China10 million
 Hong KongMinority population
 ThailandLargest group of Thai Chinese
 CambodiaLargest group of Chinese Cambodians (200,000–800,000)
 SingaporeOne of the three largest groups of Chinese Singaporeans
 MyanmarOne of the three largest groups of Burmese Chinese
 MalaysiaOne of the largest groups of Malaysian Chinese
 IndonesiaOne of the largest groups of Chinese Indonesians
 VietnamSecond largest group of Hoa people ( 34% ~250,000 )
 LaosOne of the largest groups of Laotian Chinese
 PhilippinesMinority population
 United StatesMinority population
 CanadaMinority population
 AustraliaMinority population
 New ZealandMinority population
 FranceMost Chinese from France are of Teochew background
 TaiwanFull assimilation into Hoklo Taiwanese society
Teochew language (including Teochew and Swatow), Standard Chinese (lingua franca) & other languages of their countries of residence
Predominantly Chinese folk religions (including Taoism, Confucianism, ancestral worship and others), Protestant, Mahayana Buddhism, Islam.
Related ethnic groups
Hokkien people, Cantonese people, Hakka people, She people
Teochew people

The Teochew people or Chaoshanese, Teo-Swa people or Chaoshan people (rendered Têo-Swa in romanized Teoswa[clarification needed] and Cháoshàn in Modern Standard Mandarin also known as Teo-Swa in mainland China due to a change in place names[1]) is an ethnic group native to the historical Chaoshan region in south China[2] who speak the Teochew language. Today, most ethnic Teochew people live throughout Chaoshan and Hong Kong, and also outside China in Southeast Asia, including in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The community can also be found in diasporas around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France.[3]


Teochew can be romanized in a variety of schemes, and are known in Mandarin as Cháoshan rén and in Cantonese as Chiushan yan. In referring to themselves as Sinitic people, Teochew people generally use Deung nang (Chinese: 唐人; pinyin: Tángrén; lit. 'Tang dynasty people'), as opposed to Hang Jin (simplified Chinese: 汉人; traditional Chinese: 漢人; pinyin: Hànrén; lit. 'Han dynasty people').

Teochew people of the diaspora would generally use ting nang (Chinese: 唐儂; pinyin: tangrén) to indicate Sinitic heritage in a cultural sense. Tingnang and tangren are broadly used by most of the southern Sinitic people living outside of China, referring to their maintaining a substantial cultural identity they consider to be Sinitic people. The identification of "tingnang" could perhaps be due to their early affiliation with the Tang dynasty.[4] The Teochew people are those who speak the Teochew language and identify with Teochew culture, cuisine, and customs. The Swatow people are those who speak the Swatow language and identify with Swatow culture, cuisine, and customs.

Kekyeo, Teochew, Swatow and Chaoshan people also commonly refer to each other as ga gi nang (Chinese: 家己儂; pinyin: Jiājǐrén; lit. 'our own people').[citation needed]


The ancestors of the Teochew people moved to present-day Chaoshan as refugees possibly from central China due to various reasons.[5] The Teochew were often called Fulao (Hoklo) because they came mostly passed through Fujian during migration, with some well-maintained language and customs from ancient China.[6] As was recorded in pedigrees and ancient inscriptions, one of the two groups of those who temporarily migrated to the capital city of Fujian later moved to parts of Chaoshan instead in batches during the Tang dynasty, genetically intermixing with the local people within Chaoshan there.[7]

The Teochew people are mistakenly known to the Cantonese as "Hoklo", literally meaning "men of Fujian", although the term "Teochew" was used in the Straits Settlements in the 19th century and early 20th century. "Teochew" is derived from Teochew prefecture (Chaozhou Fu) the departmental city where they originate.[8]

Teochew immigration to Singapore

Teochew Association in Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

From the 19th century, significant numbers of Teochew people left their homeland for Singapore and a new life.[9] Early Teochew settlers could trace their origins to eight counties/prefectures: Chao'an, Chenghai, Chaoyang, Jieyang, Raoping, Puning, Huilai and Nan'ao. In addition to these new immigrants from the port of Swatow (Shantou), Teochew immigrants from Siam and the Riau Islands also began settling in Singapore after 1819.[10]

Today, Teochew language is the second-most spoken Sinitic language in Singapore.[10] They are the second-largest race / Ethnic group in Singapore, comprising 21% of the sinitic population. As a result, they play a significant role in commerce and politics.

Teochew in Taiwan

See also: 潮州裔臺灣人 (on the Chinese Wikipedia)

Most of the Teochew descendants in Taiwan have already been "hokkienized" ("hoklonized"). They speak the Taiwanese Hokkien language instead of Teochew,[11] but some Teochew are still in Chaozhou township, in Pingtung County.[citation needed]

A 1926 Japanese census found that 134,800 people in Taiwan were of Teochew ancestry.[12][page needed]


Chaozhou opera

Throughout a history of over 1000 years, the region of Chaoshan, known in ancient times as Teochew Prefecture, has developed and cultivated a prestigious culture, which manifests its unique characteristics in language, opera, traditional dress, cuisine, tea practice, music, and embroidery.[citation needed]

The Teochew language (simplified Chinese: 潮州话; traditional Chinese: 潮州話; Teochew pronunciation: Diê5 ziu1 uê7) is a series of dialect varieties spoken across the geographical area which was formerly administered by Teochew Prefecture (or Chaozhou Fu, 潮州府) from the Hongwu period of the Ming dynasty (1369) to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is spoken by roughly 10 million people in Chaoshan and more than five million outside the Chinese mainland.[13]

Teochew Cuisine is known for its distinctive sauces, seafood dishes, and stews.[citation needed]

Teochew opera (Chinese: 潮劇) is a traditional art form, which has a history of more than 500 years and is now enjoyed by 20 million Teochew people in over 20 countries and regions.[citation needed] Based on local folk dances and ballads, Teochew opera has formed its own style under the influence of Nanxi Opera. Nanxi is one of the oldest Chinese operas and originated in the Song dynasty. The old form of choral accompaniment still preserves its distinctive features. Clowns and females are the most distinctive characters in Teochew opera, and fan play and acrobatic skills are prominent.[citation needed]

Teochew music (Chinese: 潮州音樂) is popular in Chaoshan's teahouse scene. The Teochew string instrument, gong, drum, and traditional Chinese flute are typically involved in ensembles. The current Chaozhou drum music is said to be similar to the Drum and Wind Music form of the Han and Tang dynasties.[14]

Teochew woodcarving (Chinese: 潮州木雕) is a form of Chinese woodcarving originating from Chaoshan. Teochew people used a great deal of Teochew wood carving in their buildings.[citation needed]

Yingge dance

Yingge dance (Chinese: 英歌) is a form of Chinese folk dance which started in the Qing dynasty. With a history of more than 300 years, it is regarded as one of the most representative forms folk arts in Teochew culture.[15]

Although few movies or television dramas have been made about the Teochew people, one such notable drama is the Singaporean 1995 drama series The Teochew Family.[16] In 2019, Netflix released the documentary series Flavorful Origins, which focused on Teochew cuisine.

Notable Teochew people

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Teochew people.



Cabinet ministry


Businesspeople and entrepreneurs

Actors and singers

See also


  1. ^ a b 10 Things You Must Know As A Teochew. The Teochew Store.
  2. ^ "Map of China showing location of Chaoshan region" – via ResearchGate.
  3. ^ N Ng (2021), Engaging with a Genre in Decline: Teochew Opera in Western Sydney, vol. 22(2–3), The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, pp. 162–183
  4. ^ GL Tan (2018), An Introduction to the Culture and History of the Teochews in Singapore, World Scientific
  5. ^ Li, Xiao-Yun; Su, Min; Huang, Hai-Hua; Li, Hui; Tian, Dong-Ping; Gao, Yu-Xia (2007). "mtDNA evidence: Genetic background associated with related populations at high risk for esophageal cancer between Chaoshan and Taihang Mountain areas in China". Genomics. 90 (4): 474–481. doi:10.1016/j.ygeno.2007.06.006.
  6. ^ 蔡, 金河 (2007), "由民俗活动看潮汕文化对中华传统文化的传承", 广东史志·视窗年 第6期 (6): 71–73.
  7. ^ 广东潮州人的祖先来自福建? [dead link]
  8. ^ Kingsley Bolton, Christopher Hutton, Triad societies: western accounts of the history, sociology and linguistics of Chinese secret societies, p. 93.
  9. ^ Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan (2010). 潮州八邑会馆与義安公司的历史渊源. Archived 12 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 January 2010
  10. ^ a b Conceicao, Jeanne, Teochew Community, Singapore Government
  11. ^ "「消失」的族群?南臺灣屏東地區廣東福佬人的身分與認同". 中央研究院臺灣史研究所臺灣史研究集刊 (in Chinese). 20 (1). 2013. [dead link]
  12. ^ Taiwan Sotoku Kanbo Chosaka (1928). 台灣在籍漢民族鄉貫別調查 [Investigation of the regions of origin of Han people in Taiwan]. Taihoku-shi (Taipei): Taiwan Sotoku Kanbo Chosaka.
  13. ^ Huang, Yating; Fang, Fan (2021). "'I feel a sense of solidarity when speaking Teochew': unpacking family language planning and sustainable development of Teochew from a multilingual perspective". Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 42: 1–17. doi:10.1080/01434632.2021.1974460.
  14. ^ Lau, Frederick (1998). "Chinese Music in the Diaspora: The Case of Teochew Music in Thailand" (PDF). 20. 동양음악: 109–125. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ "英歌舞源自潮汕地區,是一種有三百多年歷史的民族舞蹈". Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Hakka vs Teochew". The New Paper. 31 December 1996. p. 25. Retrieved 31 October 2023 – via NewspaperSG.
  17. ^ Wen, Zongduo (n.d.). "Close bond with China inherited from ancestors". Chinadaily.com.cn.
  18. ^ Mi, Tingting (米婷婷) (9 October 2015). 泰国民主党副党首龙宛虹来溆寻根. 溆浦党建 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 1 February 2022. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  19. ^ Chew, Melanie (1996). Leaders of Singapore. Singapore: Resource Press. ISBN 9789814719445.
  20. ^ "Singapore's newest billionaire made his wealth from nothing". AsiaOne. 23 September 2013.
  21. ^ Yip, Jieying (1 June 2018). "Actor Chen Shucheng Opens Teochew Restaurant Serving "Hard-To-Find Traditional Dishes"". 8days.sg.
  22. ^ Bui, Natalie (21 September 2018). "Tan Kheng Hua talks parenting and being parented in Singapore". medium.com.

References and further reading