As Hong Kong is now facing economic restructuring and social problems of various kinds, it is not surprising that the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has begun to introduce new measures and policies to make the government more efficient and effective in terms of service provision and resource allocation. As notions of 'accountability' and 'value for money' are repeatedly stressed by the government, the subsequent impacts of the public sector reform which started in 1989, coupled with the recent reforms along the lines of managerialism, have already caused fundamental changes to the social welfare sector and social administration in Hong Kong. Different measures and strategies such as 'decentralization', 'privatization', 'marketization' and 'corporatization' have been introduced in recent years to different areas of policy in Hong Kong. All these administrative reforms have suggested that the HKSAR has tried to conceive a new role for the administration, hoping to develop new relationships with markets and civil society. This article is set against such a policy context to examine the impacts of the Asian economic crisis on the quality of life in Hong Kong, with reference to how socioeconomic and demographic changes in Hong Kong after the economic crisis have affected Hong Kong citizens' livelihood and quality of life, particularly exploring the current situations of poverty, income distribution and environmental degradation in the HKSAR. More specifically, this article will explore how the HKSAR has helped its citizens to ride out the storm, discussing whether the measures adopted by the government are effective enough to relieve hardship and accelerate recovery. Most important of all, this article will also reflect on the changing modes of governance in social and welfare development in Hong Kong.