Abstract

The Business of Culture: Cultural Entrepreneurs in China and Southeast Asia, 1900-65

From the late nineteenth- to the mid-twentieth century, changing technologies and growing transregional ties provided unprecedented opportunities for the entrepreneurially minded in China and Southeast Asia. The Business of Culture examines the rise of Chinese “cultural entrepreneurs,” businesspeople who risked financial well-being and reputation by investing in multiple cultural enterprises in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rich in biographical detail, the interlinked case studies featured in this volume introduce three distinct archetypes: the cultural personality, the tycoon, and the collective enterprise. These portraits reveal how changes in social and economic conditions created the fertile soil for business success; conditions that are similar to those emerging in China today.