Ashley Dudarenok

Russian-born China digital marketing guru Ashley Dudarenok has been spending much of her recent professional life in Hong Kong. In December she swapped her Russian passport for a Hong Kong one and became a real Hongkonger. In the South China Morning Post, she explains why.

The South China Morning Post:

Dudarenok, a China digital expert and founder of two digital companies, said while the naturalisation process was long and tedious, it was worth it.

“First and foremost, if you know that this is going to be your home for the next 20 or 30 years, or maybe for the rest of your life, then taking this step shows commitment,” she said.

Hong Kong Immigration Department naturalised more than 10,000 people between Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty in 1997 and 2012, and has received about 1,500 applications per year since 2016.

But a combination of protests and the pandemic resulted in a shift in statistics.

Recent government figures showed Hong Kong’s population fell by 1.6 per cent in 2022, with a net outflow of people accounting for almost 80 per cent of the decrease.

According to figures from the Census and Statistics Department, the city’s population dropped by 121,500, from 7,413,100 in mid-2021 to 7,291,600 in mid-2022.

This has not deterred Dudarenok. With borders and the economy now opening up, she is committed.

“A lot of people think everything is bad, and everybody’s leaving,” she said.

“I recently joined a walking and food tour in Hong Kong – like being a tourist in your own city – and two couples from Britain were taking part. All of them said that before they came to Hong Kong they read how much of a nightmare it is.

“But it’s a very positive story to tell,” said Dudarenok.

More in the South China Morning Post.

More stories by Ashley Dudarenok.

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