Before this, there had already been a sizable community of
Chinese in Malaya in states like Malacca, Penang and Kelantan.
Many Chinese Peranakan families in these states can trace their ancestors in Malaya back through eight generations. When Ming loyalists fled their country after the Manchu invasion of South China in the mid-17th century, many of them sought refuge in Malacca as there was already a Chinese settlement there.
The opening of Penang in 1786 by Francis Light further attracted large numbers of Chinese traders, many of whom eventually became permanent settlers. From then on, Chinese arriving in the Straits Settlements of Penang and Singapore grew steadily.
From this group, a discernible Chinese Peranakan community was formed as intermarriage or cohabitation between Chinese men and local women occurred.