In the past 10 years, ZnO as a semiconductor has attracted considerable attention due to its unique properties, such as high electron mobility, wide and direct band gap and large exciton binding energy. ZnO has been considered a promising material for optoelectronic device applications, and the fabrications of high quality p-type ZnO and p–n junction are the key steps to realize these applications. However, the reliable p-type doping of the material remains a major challenge because of the self-compensation from native donor defects (VO and Zni) and/or hydrogen incorporation. Considerable efforts have been made to obtain p-type ZnO by doping different elements with various techniques. Remarkable progresses have been achieved, both theoretically and experimentally. In this paper, we discuss p-type ZnO materials: theory, growth, properties and devices, comprehensively. We first discuss the native defects in ZnO. Among the native defects in ZnO, VZn and Oi act as acceptors. We then present the theory of p-type doping in ZnO, and summarize the growth techniques for p-type ZnO and the properties of p-type ZnO materials. Theoretically, the principles of selection of p-type dopant, codoping method and XZn–2VZn acceptor model are introduced. Experimentally, besides the intrinsic p-type ZnO grown at O-rich ambient, p-type ZnO (MgZnO) materials have been prepared by various techniques using Group-I, IV and V elements. We pay a special attention to the band gap of p-type ZnO by band-gap engineering and room temperature ferromagnetism observed in p-type ZnO. Finally, we summarize the devices based on p-type ZnO materials.