Abstract: Cooperation versus Competition: The Daxing and Yuhua Cotton Mills in Crisis, 1931–1937

Juanjuan Peng


We usually view the creation of the modern corporation as a crucial factor in the modern development of Europe and America. Historians of Chinese business also focus on the modern corporation in understanding China's modern economic development. Although many scholars testing China's enterprises in light of the "corporation" standard concluded that modern China failed to follow a Western model, few have searched for an indigenous pattern of modern Chinese companies. In this research, I trace the origin of one early twentieth-century <i>jituan</i> (business group). I argue that the indigenous Chinese <i>jituan</i>, rather than the imported Western corporation, is the key to understanding the transformation of China's modern companies. The story of Daxing and Yuhua Cotton Mills reveals that intensifying Sino-foreign competition triggered the formation of this business group in the early 1930s. Studying its development can contribute significantly to our understanding of an indigenous Chinese path toward modernization.