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Dear ChinaEmigrant Letters and Remittances, 1820-1980$
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Gregor Benton and Hong Liu

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520298415

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520298415.001.0001

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The Structure of the Qiaopi Trade and Transnational Networks

The Structure of the Qiaopi Trade and Transnational Networks

(p.33) 2 The Structure of the Qiaopi Trade and Transnational Networks
Dear China

Gregor Benton

Hong Liu

University of California Press

This chapter provides a detailed account of the evolution, structure, and personnel of the qiaopi trade, which enabled financial transactions (remittances) and the exchange of family letters across national boundaries. It looks at the institutionalization of the qiaopi trade and the role played by the piju (remittance shops) in sustaining transnational Chinese social and business networks on the basis of primordial ties of locality, dialect, and kinship. Transnational qiaopi networks played a key role not only in supporting the social and economic development of South China but also in sustaining the ties of families separated physically by oceans. These networks predated and coexisted with emerging nation-states based on institutions such as a modern post office and other regulatory regimes in both host lands and homeland. Competition between qiaopi institutions and modern organizations such as the post office, modern banks, and, ultimately, the increasingly powerful nation-state eventually led to the demise of the qiaopi trade in the late 1970s.

Keywords:   piju, transnational network, remittances, post office, nationalism

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