Studies taking a mediation perspective have highlighted how the actual impact of economic globalisation is mediated by institutions that include welfare regimes. Some have examined how the welfare systems of East Asian developmental states have changed and adapted since the Asian financial crisis of 1997/1998. Using Hong Kong as a case study, this article examines how the developmental state of Hong Kong mediated the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008, particularly on disadvantaged groups. Hong Kong's welfare regime has provided insufficient support to ‘non-productive’ groups despite incidents of social crisis. The government's welfare responses have been characterised by long-term strategies to improve the competitiveness of the economy, and short-term measures to boost the spending power of the general public. Measures targeted at disadvantaged groups have been piecemeal and minimal. The government's approach towards crisis management after 2008 has been similar to that taken after the 1997/1998 financial crisis.