Publication Details

Lim, J. (2012). Chinese Merchants in Singapore and the China Trade, 1819-1959. Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, 5, 79-115.

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Asia – Studies: Humanities

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Open Access Journal


Chinese merchants in Singapore were involved with the China trade after the British established a trading post in Singapore in 1819. These merchants were regarded as Chinese citizens by the Chinese state and expected to be engaged in patriotic activities such as the promotion of Chinese goods as “national products” in the 1930s, and comply with Chinese government regulations during the Sino-Japanese War and after the communist victory in China in 1949. This paper traces the vicissitudes of the China trade for the Chinese merchants in Singapore as the island went through phases of political and economic stability, international competition, military conflict and the early years of the Cold War.