Chinese Business History Workshop

Chinese Business History Workshop

2022 BHC Annual Meeting

Workshop date is April 6th, 2022

Sponsored by the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong

*See full program below*

Chinese Business History – the study of the historical development of business and entrepreneurship in China – saw its beginnings as a field during the 1980s when scholars in China and abroad started to probe the historical origins of the rapid rise of Chinese entrepreneurs and businesses after China’s Reform and Opening Up. Between the 1980s and early 2000s, the field grew steadily and produced several important research monographs and collaborative research projects. While individual scholars of Chinese history have continued to work on matters relating to business, entrepreneurship, and commerce, collaborative research in the field has become largely dormant during the past two decades. This not only reduced interactions among scholars working on Chinese business history but also resulted in a dearth in efforts to answer collaboratively larger questions about the historical development of Chinese entrepreneurship and synthesize individual studies to move the larger field forward. Moreover, too little interaction exists between scholars of Chinese business history and business historians working on other regions of the world.

This one-day pre-meeting workshop aims to both bring together Chinese business historians and facilitate discussion between business historians working on China and those working on other regions. We particularly encourage graduate students and early career scholars to submit their papers. Proposals should include a 250-words abstract and a bio of no more than 200 words and should be sent to by 30 November 2021.

This proposal process is separate from the proposal process of the annual meeting and submitting a separate paper to the annual meeting is not a requirement. Still, all participants of the workshop will also need to register for the BHC annual meeting. As explained in the annual meeting’s call for papers, the annual meeting (and thus also this pre-meeting workshop) might switch to a hybrid or online format depending on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organizers: Dr. John D. Wong (HKU), Dr. Ghassan Moazzin (HKU)

For further information, please contact

BHC Chinese Business History Workshop Program

6 April (Times in CDT)



Mr. Christoph Hess, University of Cambridge (

Mr. Jeremy Chua, University of Southern California (

Mr. Rob Konkel, Princeton University (

Ms. Zijun Li, Osaka University (

Mr. Bill Kelson, University of Georgia (

Dr. Ghassan Moazzin, University of Hong Kong (

Mr. Jian Ren, Rutgers University (

Ms. Jackie Wang, University of Hong Kong (

Dr. John D. Wong, University of Hong Kong (

Dr. Meng Wu, Manchester University (

Prof. Neil Rollings, Glasgow University (

Dr. Zhaojin Zeng, Duke Kunshan University (

Prof. Pierre-Yves Donzé, Osaka University (


In-Person Participants (Tentative): John D. Wong, Rob Konkel, Jian Ren, Jeremy Chua


Panel 1: 6 April, 8am:

Chair: Ghassan Moazzin

8.10am: Bill Kelson (University of Georgia), “Imperial Babel: Baghdadi Jews, Chaozhou Sojourners, & Rival Opium Networks  in China’s Integration into the Global Economy, 1864-1883”

8.30am: Christoph Hess, (University of Cambridge), “The Corporate Clan and Social Capital in Preindustrial China, 1644-1949"

8.50am: Discussant: John Wong

9am-9.30am: Q&A


Coffee Break 9.30am - 10am


Panel 2: 6 April, 10am:

Chair: John Wong

10am: Jackie Wang (University of Hong Kong), “Entertaining Inheritance: Women and Property Expansion in Republican China, 1926-1936”

10.20am: Meng Wu (London School of Economics and Political Science), “Traditions and innovations: An exploration of the governance structure, business strategy and historical development of the Chinese Shanxi piaohao, 1820s to 1930s”

10:40am: Discussant: Neil Rollings

10:50am-11.20am: Q&A




Panel 3: 6 April, 7pm:

Chair: Ghassan Moazzin

7pm: Li Zijun (Osaka University) - “The Formation and Growth of the Chinese Jewellery industry (1980-2020)”

7.20pm: Jian Ren (Rutgers University) - “Local - Marketing Made-in-China Products in Cold War Latin America: Cuba, Chile, 1959-1966”

7.40pm: Discussant: Zhaojin Zeng

7.50pm-8.20pm: Q&A


Coffee Break 8.20pm-8.50pm


Panel 4: 6 April, 8:50pm:

Chair: Ghassan Moazzin

8.50pm: Rob Konkel (Princeton University), “Soft Commerce, Heavy Metal: K.C. Li and Chinese Tungsten between the World Wars”

9.10pm: Jeremy Chua (University of Southern California), “Flight, Flag, and Culture: The Making of the Chinese Aviation Complex”

9.30pm: Discussant: Pierre-Yves Donzé

9.40pm-10.10pm: Q&A

10.10pm: John Wong and Ghassan Moazzin: Concluding Remarks