Merchants of Canton and Macao

Success and Failure in Eighteenth-Century Chinese Trade

(廣州及澳門商人:18 世紀中外貿易史上的成與敗)

Paul A. Van Dyke

ISBN : 978-988-8139-32-3


December 2015

532 pages, 6″ x 9″, 109 color illus.

  • HK$595.00

Merchants were central to the huge growth in China’s foreign trade and contributed to the development of world markets and networks. Merchants of Canton and Macao: Success and Failure in Eighteenth-Century Chinese Trade brings together much new research about the inner workings of the merchants of Canton and Macao. The book studies in detail the leading Chinese merchants and merchant families as well as the porcelain and silk trades. By examining the successes and failures of dozens of Chinese merchants involved in foreign trade, it provides fresh insights into China’s unique form of capitalism and her role in the rise of global commerce.

Van Dyke’s conclusions on the nature of Qing policy towards foreign trade are bold, original and supported by intensive research. In contrast to the traditional focus on British and American trade, his research draws on archives in multiple languages, spread around the world.

Paul A. Van Dyke is professor of history at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and author of The Canton Trade: Life and Enterprise on the China Coast 1700–1845 (2005) and Merchants of Canton and Macao: Politics and Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Chinese Trade (2011).

‘Like its predecessor, this volume offers a detailed and vivid reconstruction of business practices based on a remarkable collection of archival sources in Chinese and diverse European languages. It will be especially welcome by economic historians as well as anyone who wants to understand global history as it played out in a particular place.’ —R. Bin Wong, Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Asia Institute, UCLA

‘Once again Paul Van Dyke has plumbed the depths of the archives to provide us with an extraordinary catalogue of the activities of European and Chinese traders during the heyday of the Canton trade. In this second volume of his encyclopedic study, Van Dyke focuses in detail on the transactions that took place between foreign private and company traders and Chinese licensed merchants.’ —Madeleine Zelin, Dean Lung Professor of Chinese Studies, Columbia University

‘This is a great study which will be the ultimate work on the subject for many years to come. It is as complete as the available documentation at present makes possible; it is concise, well organized and the subject is researched with great thoroughness.’ —Christiaan Jörg, author of Porcelain and the Dutch China Trade