Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of History

Title

Changes and Continuities. Evolution of a Chinese Family Business (1876-2004)

Language

English

Abstract

Starting from the early nineteenth century, western colonial activities have opened up a large area of Southeast Asia for economic penetration. Chinese family business, with its extensive familial and cultural networks, has a niche in these frontier areas where economic and legal institutions were embryonic or ineffective. In Southeast Asia, Chinese extended families are often geographically dispersed. By spreading wealth across borders, these families have not only diversified their business risk, but also built up a mechanism to enforce business obligations cross borders. Contractual obligations in business could always be enforced by one’s familial and communal mechanisms without recourse to legal authority or institutions outside the communities. It helps to explain why the Overseas Chinese communities, over the centuries, have played an important part in the ties which China has forged with its neighbouring regions in Asia. By looking into the historical transformation of a traditional Chinese family business under five generations of patriarchal leadership, this article intends to examine the validity of the above thesis. Eu Yan Sang (EYS), a famous manufacturer and retailer of Chinese medicines over the past 120 years, is the focus of this study.

Keywords

Nineteenth Century, Chinese Medicine, Communal Mechanism, Legal Institution, Early Nineteenth Century

Publication Date

2005

Source Publication Title

Asia Europe Journal

Volume

3

Issue

2

Start Page

259

End Page

268

Publisher

Springer

DOI

10.1007/s10308-005-0145-9

Link to Publisher's Edition

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10308-005-0145-9

ISSN (print)

1610-2932

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