Chapter 1

Revealing Fast-Growing Overseas Chinese Family Businesses

In every country or region, there are always people who move and live outside their area for many reasons. Chinese people are no exception. Many of them have left and then lived outside of China. These people are known as overseas Chinese. The word “China” as denoted here includes the People’s Republic of China (also known as mainland China), Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Hong Kong and Macau are part of the People’s Republic of China, while the status of Taiwan as a state is still disputed.

Many Chinese people migrated to various regions in Southeast Asia, North America, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. These people then created a community in every place in which they settled. Many Chinese people left their home country due to political instability, wars, starvation, poverty, and rampant corruption. Most of them were poor, were poorly educated, and were illiterate. Many of them worked as a laborer for low wages.

Between 1840 and 1940, about 20 to 22 million Chinese people left their country to live in other regions, according to McKeown (2010). Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines became their main destinations. Most of these people found work in mines and on plantations. About 75 percent of them then went back to China once their contracts had expired, while the rest stayed and started to build small family businesses. These businesses ...

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