Proposal preview

Interflow, Interaction, and Innovation: Merchants, Business Organizations, and Networks in the Pan-Pacific Rim since the Nineteenth Century

Due to the expansion of trade and commercial activities in the Pan Pacific rim in the 19th century, merchants from China, US, Japan, and Russia, were able to build up business organizations and to extend networks in the region. Joined by their British and French counterparts, these merchants made a significant impact for shaping a transnational business community in the region. Based on this fact, it is worth for this session to explore the interflow, interaction, and innovation among these transnational merchants, which looked from an angle of circulation of business knowhow, revelation of social-economic changes, and how localization versus globalization.

The aims for organizing this session are threefold: Firstly, to draw attention on a comparative research on the circulation of business knowhow, the creation and the operation of business networks in the Pan Pacific rim since the 19th century. Secondly, to examine the impact made by the interflow and the interaction among the different groups of merchants in the above mentioned region. Thirdly, to identify the cooperation and innovational changes made by the various merchant organizations in the Pan Pacific rim.

This session will draw upon cases in China mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, Southeast Asia, and US, and to show how prominent Chinese, British and French merchants and business organizations interacted, cooperated, and conflicted together in the same region. This session called upon the research of global history, cliometrics, which looked from a comparative and multi-dimensional angle, in order to give a holistic view and theoretical analysis of the transnational business community emerged in the Pan Pacific rim since the nineteenth century.


  • Pui Tak Lee, University of Hong Kong,, Hong Kong, China
  • Min Ma, Central China Normal University,, China

Session members

  • Min Ma, Central China Normal University,
  • Bozhong Li, Tsinghua University,
  • Masato Kimura, Shibusawa Ei’ichi Memorial Foundation,
  • Billy K.L. So, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology,
  • Sufumi So, Independent Scholar,
  • Hong Liu, Nanyang Technological University,
  • Yuanbao Xiong, Waseda University,
  • Haiyan Fu, Central China Normal University,
  • Wenxiang Wei, Central China Normal University,
  • Zhao Duan, Central China Normal University,
  • Helin Wu, Central China Normal University,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • James Z. Lee, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology,
  • Takeshi Hamashita, Toyo Bunko,
  • R. Bin Wong, University of California at Los Angeles,