This concluding chapter argues that the qiaopi trade was the basis for one of China’s earliest excursions into the modern world economy. The trade quickly progressed from the one-man operations of the early years to the piju formed by qiaopi entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the swift growth of Chinese emigration and remittance. It eventually matured into a stable industry with its own perfected mechanisms, patched onto China’s other modern institutions like banks and the post office and linked to modern forms of communication and transport. The trade gave an impetus to other forms of transnational and domestic industry and to urban growth in coastal cities adjacent to the qiaoxiang. Initially based on networks of blood, place, and tongue, it later joined or created national, transnational, and international networks based on trade, finance, and general migration, mainly in territories around the South China Sea but also in the gold-rush Pacific—the Americas, Australia, and the South Pacific. These networks, maritime and terrestrial, were not just economic but also had deep cultural and social dimensions. Along them ran not just cash, capital, and goods but also people, ideas, and information. The flow of capital, ideas, and population between Chinese in diaspora and their families and communities in China was a key driver in the remaking of China along modern and transnational lines.
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