1st Edition

The History of Chinese Presence in Nigeria (1950s–2010s) Factories, Commodities, and Entrepreneurs

By Shaonan Liu Copyright 2022
    186 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As the first book-length work on the history of Chinese presence in Nigeria, this book examines how Chinese migrants and the Nigerian state, workers, traders, and consumers interacted with and influenced one another from the mid twentieth century to the early twenty-first century.

    Based on a combination of archival sources and oral history interviews, this book argues that the significant Chinese presence in Nigeria—Chinese-owned factories, commodities, and entrepreneurs—is not as recent a phenomenon as it might appear. As early as the 1950s, an influential yet understudied group of Chinese entrepreneurs moved to Nigeria, set up factories and gradually came to dominate some of the country’s key manufacturing industries such as textile and enamelware over subsequent decades. Such dominance remained unchallenged until the coming of mainland Chinese traders with their made-in-China goods in the late 1990s, dramatically changing the structure and influential pattern of the Chinese in Nigeria. The research also emphasizes African (Nigerian) agency in shaping this Chinese presence, both economically and culturally.

    This is a vital read for academics, researchers, and students of African History, African Studies, Chinese Studies, and those who are interested in contemporary issues relating to Africa-China relations.

    1. Introduction, 2. From China to Nigeria: Migration of Chinese Industrialists and Nigerian Industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s, 3. Prosperity, Crisis, and Identity: The Textile Industry of Nigeria and Chinese Textile Manufacturers in the Post-Independence Era, 4. The Good Old Days: Work and Life of Nigerian Textile Workers at Chinese-owned Textile Factories, 5. From Chinese Factories into Everyday Lives: Enamelware in Northern Nigeria, 6. The Changing Dynamics of the Chinese Community in Nigeria since the 1990s, 7. Between the Nigerian State, Traders, and Consumers: The Rise and Fall of China Town in Lagos


    Dr. Shaonan LIU is a lecturer at School of History, Beijing Normal University, China. His research interests include the history of Chinese in Nigeria, the history of Africa-China relation, and the economic and social history of West Africa.

    "This important book tells the stories of Chinese manufacturers who settled in West Africa at the time of independence, providing much needed historical perspective on a topic too often viewed as a recent phenomenon.  Liu’s deep knowledge of both African and Chinese migration history allows him to write a fine grained and authoritative story, illuminating not only Chinese interests but also African agency."   

                                                                                 Jamie Monson, Professor of History & Director of African Studies at Michigan State University, USA