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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Qiaopi Trade as a Distinctive Form of Chinese Capitalism

The Qiaopi Trade as a Distinctive Form of Chinese Capitalism

(p.66) 3 The Qiaopi Trade as a Distinctive Form of Chinese Capitalism
Dear China

Gregor Benton

Hong Liu

University of California Press

This chapter proposes a definition of the qiaopi trade in light of its distinctive features. Was it a modern form of “transnational capitalism” that depended on trust in a system of impersonal rules, as some argue? Or a distinctive early form of a specifically Chinese capitalism dependent on cultural or familial affinities? The chapter takes the latter view. It makes its argument by identifying alternatives to modern capitalism. These alternatives are robustly cosmopolitan and expressions of a modernity that is multiple rather than modular. The roots and strength of the qiaopi trade lay in its capacity to mobilize cultural capital and ethnic Chinese cultural and familial affinities in the ancestral homeland. For all its apparent traditionalism, the qiaopi phenomenon enabled Chinese entrepreneurs to compete successfully for more than a century with modern state-run banks and postal services both in China and overseas.

Keywords:   capitalism, entrepreneurship, culture, familism, modern China

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