Chungking Mansions features guesthouses, curry restaurants, African bistros, clothing shops, sari stores, and foreign exchange offices. The apartments in the area are tiny, with people often living in one overcrowded room. The place often acts as a large gathering place for some of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, particularly South Asians (Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans), Middle Eastern people, Nigerians, Europeans, Americans, and many other peoples of the world. Peter Shadbolt of CNN stated that the complex was the "unofficial African quarter of Hong Kong". Chinese University of Hong Kong anthropologist Prof. Gordon Mathews estimated in 2007 that people from at least 120 different nationalities had passed through Chungking Mansions in one year. Mathews also estimates that up to 20 per cent of the mobile phones recently in use in sub-Saharan Africa had passed through Chungking Mansions at some point.
The building was completed in 1961, at which time Chinese residents predominated. Now, after more than five decades of use, there are an estimated 4,000 people living in the complex.
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