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Meeting PlaceEncounters across Cultures in Hong Kong, 1841-1984$
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Elizabeth Sinn and Christopher Munn

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390847

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390847.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use (for details see www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 11 December 2018

Western Firms and Their Chinese Compradors

Western Firms and Their Chinese Compradors

The Case of the Jebsen and Chau Families

Chapter:
(p.106) 6 Western Firms and Their Chinese Compradors
Source:
Meeting Place
Author(s):

Bert Becker

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888390847.003.0006

This chapter explores the close and complex relationships between members of the German Jebsen family, steamship entrepreneurs, and their comprador, Chau Yue Ting, a Western-educated member of a merchant family from Hainan based in Hong Kong. Through a detailed examination of correspondence and other business records, the chapter highlights the multiple roles of compradors not only as bicultural middlemen for Western interests but also as clients, customers, co-owners of businesses, employees and employers, creditors and debtors, and family friends. It challenges the simplistic view that foreign steamship companies in the region were tools of empire or spearheads of Western penetration into Chinese markets, stressing instead how Chinese merchants strategically made use of their services to extend and consolidate their own business networks.

Keywords:   Hong Kong, Chau Yue Ting, Compradors, Jebsen & Co, Steamships, Trade, Shipping, German business

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