Chinese Middlemen in Hong Kong's Colonial Economy, 1830-1890: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Chinese Middlemen in Hong Kong's Colonial Economy, 1830-1890

1st Edition

By Kaori Abe


162 pages

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pub: 2019-12-12
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The traditional view of the Hong Kong colonial economy is that it was dominated by Western companies, notably the great British merchant houses, and that these firms enlisted support from Chinese middlemen – the compradors – who were effectively agents working for the Western firms. This book, which presents a comprehensive overview of the compradors and their economic and social functions over the full period of colonial rule in Hong Kong, puts forward a different view. It shows that compradors existed before the beginning of British rule in 1842, discusses their economic and social roles in the colonial economy, roles which included activities for Western firms, for the government and to support compradors’ own commercial activities, and outlines how the comprador system evolved. Overall, the book demonstrates that the compradors played a key role in the formation and development of Hong Kong’s economy and society, that they were active participants, not just passive servants of Western companies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Rise of the Compradors in Hong Kong

1. The Licensed Compradors in Canton

2. The Compradors of the Colonial Government

3. The Company Compradors

4. Compradors’ Commercial Activities

5. The Compradors’ Social and Political Activities

Conclusion: Intermediaries in Hong Kong, China and the British Empire

About the Author

Kaori Abe is a former postdoctoral fellow of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and has a PhD in History from the University of Bristol. Her main research areas are the history of Hong Kong, modern China and the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Asia has undergone immense and far reaching changes: war, revolution, occupation, industrialization. This series includes in-depth research on aspects of economic, political and social history of individual countries as well as more broad-reaching analyses of regional issues.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies