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African traders in China

This research compiles a series of small-scale research projects carried out over four years of African migrants in Guangzhou, active in the exports to the African sub-continent.

Chinese and African traders are creating a ‘third tier’ of globalization, led by individual entrepreneurship rather than producer nor consumer-led.  In recent years, China’s major tra-ding cities have witnessed rapid social, cultural and physical change which has accompanied the country’s boom in manufacturing and exports. A significant element of this growth has been the China–Africa trade in small-scale manufactured goods.

The opening of China’s economy has created new spaces for migrant entrepreneurs capturing a share of international value chains, transforming social and business relations, and reconfiguring urban space. This paper draws on a pilot study by the authors of African migrants in Guangzhou in 2007, active in the exports to the African sub-continent.

Findings challenge established models of global city growth, identifying the collective importance of individual entrepreneurs in promoting a trade which has significant impacts on African cities, while creating new interactions with identifiable, distinctive and unanticipated impacts on this dynamic host city.In recent years, China’s major trading cities have witnessed rapid social, cultural and physical change which has accompanied the country’s boom in manufacturing and exports. A small but increasingly significant element of this growth has been the China–Africa trade in small-scale manufactured goods.In recent years, China’s major trading cities have witnessed rapid social, cultural and physical change which has accompanied the country’s boom in manufacturing and exports. A small but increasingly significant element of this growth has been the China–Africa trade in small-scale manufactured goods.

Funder

Universities China Committee in London

People

  • Professor Alison Brown, Cardiff University
  • Professor LI Zhigang, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Professor Michal Lyons, London South Bank University