Greater China region
|Countries and territories|| Cambodia |
|Languages and language families||Chinese, English, Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Laotian, Malaysian, Thai, and many others|
|Major cities|| Bangkok |
The Bamboo network (simplified Chinese :竹网; traditional Chinese :竹網; pinyin :zhú wǎng) or the Chinese Commmonwealth (simplified Chinese :中文英联邦; traditional Chinese :中文英聯邦; pinyin :Zhōngwén yīng liánbāng) is a term used to conceptualize connections between businesses operated by the Overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia. The Overseas Chinese business networks constitute the single most dominant private business groups outside of East Asia. It links the Overseas Chinese business community of Southeast Asia, namely Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore with the economies of Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan). Ethnic Chinese play a leading role in Southeast Asia's business sector as they dominate Southeast Asia's economy today and form the economic elite across all the major Southeast Asian countries. The Chinese have been an economically powerful and prosperous minority for hundreds of years and today exert a powerful economic influence throughout the region. Overseas Chinese wield tremendous economic clout over their indigenous Southeast Asian majority counterparts and play a critical role in maintaining the regions aggregate economic vitality and prosperity. Since the turn of the 21st century, postcolonial Southeast Asia has now become an important pillar of the Overseas Chinese economy as the bamboo network represents an important symbol manifesting itself as an extended international economic outpost of Mainland China.
As Chinese communities grew and developed in Southeast Asia, Chinese merchants and traders began to develop elaborate business networks for growth and survival. These elaborate business networks provide the resources for capital accumulation, marketing information, and distribution of goods and services between the Chinese business communities across Southeast Asia.Overseas Chinese businesses in Southeast Asia are usually family owned and managed through a centralized bureaucracy. The family becomes the centerpiece focus of the firm's business activities and provides the capital, labor, and management. The strength of the family firm lies in its flexibility of decision making and the dedication and loyalty of its labor force. The businesses are usually managed as family businesses to lower front office transaction costs as they are passed down from one generation to the next. Many firms generally exhibit a strong entrepreneurial spirit, family kinship, autocratic leadership, intuitive, parsimonious, and fast decision making style, as well as paternalistic management and a continuous chain of hierarchical orders. These bulk of these firms typically operate as small and medium-sized businesses rather than large corporate conglomerate entities typically dominant in other East Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. Trade and financing is guided on extensions of traditional family clans and personal relationships are prioritized over formal relationships. This promotes commercial communication and more fluid transfer of capital in a region where financial regulation and rule of law remain largely undeveloped in Southeast Asia.
Bamboo networks are also transnational, which means channeling the movement of capital, information, and goods and services can promote the relative flexibility and efficiency between the formal agreements and transactions made by family-run firms.Business relationships are based on the Confucian paradigm of guanxi , the Chinese term for the cultivation of personal relationships as an ingredient for business success. The bamboo network has been heavily influenced by Confucianism, an ancient Chinese philosophy developed by philosopher Confucius in the 5th century BC that promotes filial piety and pragmatism with respect to the context of business. Confucianism remains a legitimizing philosophical force for the maintenance of a company's corporate identity and social welfare. Nurturing guanxi has also been attributed to as a significant mechanism for the implementation of cooperative business strategies in the bamboo network. For the Chinese, a strong network has always been an important pillar of Chinese business culture, following Confucianism's belief in the individual's inability to survive alone.
The bamboo network has served as a distinctive form of economic organization through which groups of ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs, traders, investors, financiers, and their family businesses, as well as closely knitted business networks have gradually expanded and have come to dominate the economy of Southeast Asia.The bamboo network also entails the structural substrate of companies, clans, and villages linked by ethnic ties of blood, family, and native place as part of a larger global bamboo network. Having a common ethnic heritage, shared language, family ties, and ancestral roots have driven Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to do business with one another rather than with their indigenous Southeast Asian counterparts in their host countries. Companies owned by the Overseas Chinese are a major economic force and dominate the private business sectors in every Southeast Asian country today.
Many entrepreneurial Chinese immigrants have been attracted by the promise of great wealth and fortune while others driven by famine and war. Chinese merchants, craftsmen, and landless impoverished labors crossed the South China Sea to seek new lands to achieve their financial destinies.They formed Chinatowns for self-support, economic development, and promotion and protection of their business interests. Though there were immense hardships, many budding Chinese emigrant entrepreneurs and investors through thrift, shrewd business savvy and investment acumen, discipline, conscientiousness, and perseverance worked their way out of poverty to build a better life for themselves and their families. Wherever the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia have settled down, they have exhibited a strong sense of entrepreneurship and hard work starting with small businesses such as laundries, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and gradually built themselves into full-fledged entrepreneurs, financiers, and brokers eventually cornering gambling dens, casinos, and real estate. Overseas Chinese businessmen that have shaped Southeast Asian business sphere in the twentieth century have spawned famous rags to riches success stories such as the Malaysian Chinese dealmaker Robert Kuok, Chinese Indonesian billionaire Liem Sioe Liong, Chinese Filipino billionaire Henry Sy, and Hong Kong business tycoon Li Ka-shing. Robert Kuok's successful business record is similar to many other prominent overseas Chinese businessmen who have paved the way for the Southeast Asian business scene during the twentieth century. Kuok's conglomerate encompasses a complex web of private and public companies. Many of his holdings include Wilmar International a palm oil trader company, PPB Group Berhad a sugar and flour miller, the Shangri-La hotel chain in Hong Kong, shipping giant Pacific Carriers, real estate development company Kerry Properties, and formerly the prominent Hong Kong newspaper publisher South China Morning Post (later sold to Alibaba ) all of which in the aggregate total some $US5 billion. Many of these entrepreneurs come from humble beginnings and possessed little initial wealth themselves, building their businesses from scratch and contributing to the local economy in the process. Each entrepreneur started to acquire wealth and built their fortune from such uninspiring businesses as a corner shop to sell sugar in Malaysia, a village noodle shop in Indonesia, a surplus shoe store in the Philippines, and operating plastic flower manufacturing plants in Hong Kong. These budding Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs and investors started as street merchants, peddlers, hawkers and traders. Many would soon delve into real estate and then reinvested their gains into any business that they deemed profitable. Many of these small and medium-sized businesses have evolved into gargantuan conglomerates, containing an umbrella of numerous interests organized in a dozen of highly diversified subsidiaries. With the onset of globalization in the twenty-first century, many Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs have been actively globalizing their domestic operations and posing themselves as a global competitor in diverse business industries such as financial services, real estate, garment manufacturing and hotel chains. From Thailand to Myanmar to Indonesia, Overseas Chinese business families oversee multibillion-dollar business empires that stretch from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur to Mexico City. Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs and investors are major players in the Southeast Asian economy and have contributed substantially to the economic development of their host countries in Southeast Asia. Much of the business activity of the bamboo network is centered in the major cities of the region, such as Mandalay, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila.
The Overseas Chinese bamboo network has played a major role in invigorating the commercial life of Southeast Asia as postcolonial Southeast Asia has become an important pillar of the Overseas Chinese economy since the turn of the 20th century. Historically, the Chinese dominated trade and commercial life of Southeast Asia and have been an economically powerful and prosperous minority than their indigenous Southeast Asian majorities around them for hundreds of years long before the European colonial era.
Commercial influence of Chinese traders and merchants in Southeast Asia dates back at least to the third century AD, when official missions were dispatched to countries in the South Seas. Distinct and stable Overseas Chinese communities became a feature of Southeast Asia by the mid-seventeenth century across major port cities of Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.More than 1500 years ago, Chinese merchants began to sail southwards towards Southeast Asia in search of trading opportunities and wealth. These areas were known as Nanyang or the Southern Seas. Many of those who left China were Southern Han Chinese comprising the Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka and Hainanese who trace their ancestry from the southern Chinese coastal provinces, principally known as Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan. The Chinese established small trading posts, which in time grew and prospered along with their presence had come to control much of the economy in Southeast Asia. Periods of heavy emigration would send waves of Chinese into Southeast Asia as it was usually coincided with particularly poor conditions such as huge episodes of dynastic conflict, political uprisings, famine, and foreign invasions at home. Unrest and periodic upheaval throughout succeeding Chinese dynasties encouraged further emigration throughout the centuries. In the early 1400s, the Ming Dynasty Chinese Admiral Zheng He under the Yongle Emperor led a fleet of three hundred vessels around Southeast Asia during the Ming treasure voyages. During his maritime expedition across Southeast Asia, Zheng discovered an enclave of Overseas Chinese already prospering on the island of Java, Indonesia. In addition, Foreign trade in the Indonesian Tabanan Kingdom was conducted by a single wealthy Chinese called a subandar, who held a royal monopoly in exchange for a suitable tribute with the remainder of the tiny Chinese community acting as his agents.
Since 1500, Southeast Asia has been a magnet for Chinese emigrants where they have strategically developed a bamboo network that has transcended national boundaries.The Chinese were one commercial minority among many including Indian Gujaratis, Chettiars, Portuguese and Japanese until the middle of the seventeenth century. Subsequently, damage to the rival trade networks the English and Dutch in the Indian Ocean allowed the enterprising Chinese to take over the roles once held by the Japanese in the 1630s. The Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia would soon become the sole indispensable buyers and sellers to the large European companies. By the 1700s, Overseas Chinese were the sole unrivaled commercial minority everywhere in Southeast Asia, having contributed significantly to the economic dynamism and prosperity of the region and have served as a catalyst for regional economic growth. Colonization of Southeast Asia by the European powers from the 16th to the 20th centuries opened up the region to large numbers of Chinese immigrants, most of whom originated from southeastern China. The largest of those were Hakka from the Fujian and Guangdong provinces. Substantial increases in the Overseas Chinese population of Southeast Asia began in the mid-eighteenth century. Chinese emigrants from southern China settled in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam to seek their financial destiny through entrepreneurship and business success. They established at least one well-documented republic as a tributary state during the Qing dynasty, the Lanfang Republic that lasted from 1777 to 1884. Overseas Chinese populations in Southeast Asia saw a rapid increase following the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 which forced many refugees to emigrate outside of China causing a rapid expansion of the Overseas Chinese bamboo network.
Throughout Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese are an economically powerful dominant market minority that exercise a disproportionate amount of influence across the region relative to their small population.Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs and investors play a leading role and dominate commerce and industry throughout the economies of Southeast Asia at every level of society. Comprising less than ten percent of the population in Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese are estimated to possess foreign exchange reserves totaling worth over US$100 billion, control two-thirds of the retail trade, and own 80 percent of all publicly listed companies by stock market capitalization in the region. Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia also control 70 percent of the region's corporate wealth and 86 percent of Southeast Asia's billionaire's are of Chinese descent. Their middlemen minority status, shrewd business and investment acumen and economic prowess have led the Overseas Chinese to being heralded as the "Jews of Southeast Asia". In 1991, the World Bank estimated that the total economic output of the Southeast Asia's Overseas Chinese was about US$400 million and rose to US$600 million in 1996. Ethnic Chinese control 500 of the largest corporations in Southeast Asia with assets amounting to US$500 billion and additional liquid assets of US$2 trillion. The Overseas Chinese community collectively control virtually all of the regions most advanced and lucrative industries as well as its economic crown jewels. Overseas Chinese gained even greater economic power in Southeast Asia during the second half of the twentieth century in the midst of capitalist laissez faire policies enshrined by the European colonialists that were conducive to Chinese middlemen. Economic power held by the ethnic Chinese across the Southeast Asian economies exert a tremendous impact on the regions per capita income, vitality of economic output, and aggregate prosperity. The powerful economic clout and influence held by the Chinese have entirely displaced their rival indigenous Southeast Asian majority counterparts into economic submission. The disproportionate amount of economic might held by the Overseas Chinese has led to resentment and bitterness among their indigenous Southeast Asian majority counterparts who feel that they cannot compete against ethnic Chinese businesses in free market capitalist societies. The immense wealth disparity and abject poverty among the indigenous Southeast Asian majorities has resulted hostility, resentment, distrust, and anti-Chinese sentiment blaming their extreme socioeconomic failures on the Chinese. The economic dominance of the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia have aroused envy from the indigenous Southeast Asian majorities manifested in the form of social and political repression. In addition, governments across Southeast Asia have enacted laws to curtail the economic power of the Overseas Chinese in order to advance the economic interests of the indigenous Southeast Asian majorities. Many of their indigenous Southeast Asian majority counterparts have dealt with this wealth disparity by establishing socialist and communist dictatorships or authoritarian regimes to redistribute economic power more equitably at the expense of the more economically powerful and prosperous Chinese as well as giving affirmative action privileges to the indigenous Southeast Asian aborigine majorities first while imposing reverse discrimination against the Chinese minority to gain a more equitable balance of economic power.
Governments affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis introduced laws regulating insider trading led to the loss of many monopolistic positions long held by the ethnic Chinese business elite and weakening the influence of the bamboo network.After the crisis, business relationships were more frequently based on contracts, rather than the trust and family ties of the traditional bamboo network.
Following the Chinese economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping during the 1980s, businesses owned by the Chinese diaspora began to develop ties with companies based in Mainland China. As China itself geographically looms over Southeast Asia, its immense population size and territorial reach coupled with its geopolitical prominence on the international stage and large economy have posed amorphous threats to the small and medium sized countries of Southeast Asia. With China's entry into the global marketplace and its concurrent economic expansion since the dawn of the 21st century, the Overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia have served as a conduit for China's growing economic and geopolitical hegemony in the region. As China itself has been known for its receptive patronage and investment sponsorship of the Overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia, who are ready and able to take part in the domestic affairs of other nations to protect their fellow Chinese kinfolk. A major component of China's relationship with the Overseas Chinese is economic, as Overseas Chinese are an important of source of investment and financial capital for the Chinese economy.Overseas Chinese control up to $2 trillion in cash or liquid assets in the region and have considerable amounts of wealth to stimulate China's growing economic strength. Overseas Chinese also represent the biggest direct investors in Mainland China. Bamboo network businesses have established over 100,000 joint ventures and invested more than $50 billion in China, influenced by shared and existing ethnic, cultural and language affinities. Overseas Chinese also play a major role in the economic advancement of Mainland China where the relations between Mainland China and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia are excellent and close ties are encouraged due to common ancestral origins as well as adhering to traditional Chinese ethics and values. The Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia collectively control an economic spread worth US$700 billion with a combined wealth US$3.5 billion while financing 80 percent of Mainland China's foreign investment projects. Since the turn of the 21st century, postcolonial Southeast Asia has now become an important pillar of the international Overseas Chinese economy. In addition, Mainland China's transformation into a global economic power in the 21st century has led to a reversal in this relationship. Seeking to reduce its reliance on United States Treasury securities, the Chinese government through its state-owned enterprises shifted its focus to foreign investments. Protectionism in the United States has made it difficult for Chinese companies to acquire American assets, strengthening the role of the bamboo network as one of the major recipients of Chinese investments.
Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, southeast of the Indian subcontinent and north-west of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. Apart from the British Indian Ocean Territory and two out of 26 atolls of Maldives in South Asia, Southeast Asia is the only other subregion of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere. The majority of the subregion is still in the Northern Hemisphere. East Timor and the southern portion of Indonesia are the only parts that are south of the Equator.
Overseas Chinese are people of ethnic Chinese birth who reside outside the territories of the People's Republic of China (PRC), its special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the Republic of China.
Chinese Indonesians or Orang Tionghoa Indonesia & colloquially Chindos, are Indonesians whose ancestors arrived from China at some stage in the last eight centuries. Most Chinese Indonesians are descended from Southern Chinese immigrants.
World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability is a 2003 book by the controversial American law professor Amy Chua. It is an academic study of ethnic and sociological divisions in the economic and political systems of various societies. The book discusses the concept of market-dominant minorities, defined as ethnic minority groups who, under given market conditions, tend to dominate economically, often significantly, over all other ethnic groups in the country.
The Malaysian Chinese people, also known as Chinese Malaysians, are Malaysian citizens of Han Chinese ethnicity. They form the second largest ethnic group after the Malay majority constituting 23% of the Malaysian population. Most of them are descendants of Southern Chinese immigrants who arrived in Malaysia between the early 19th century and the mid-20th century. Malaysian Chinese form the second largest community of Overseas Chinese in the world, after Thai Chinese. Malaysian Chinese are traditionally dominant in the business sector of the Malaysian economy.
Chinese Filipinos or Filipino Chinese are Filipino citizens of Chinese descent, mostly of Hoklo (Hokkien) ancestry, where the majority are born and raised in the Philippines. Chinese Filipinos are one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. In 2013, there were approximately 1.35 million Filipinos with Chinese ancestry. In addition, Sangleys—Filipinos with at least some Chinese ancestry—comprise a substantial proportion of the Philippine population, although the actual figures are not known.
Thai Chinese are an ethnic Chinese community in Thailand. Thai Chinese are the largest minority group in the country and the largest overseas Chinese community in the world with a population of approximately 10 million people, accounting for 11–14% of the total population of the country as of 2012. It is also the oldest and most prominent integrated overseas Chinese community. Slightly more than half of the ethnic Chinese population in Thailand trace their ancestry to Chaoshan. This is evidenced by the prevalence of the Teochew dialect among the Chinese community in Thailand as well as other Chinese languages.
Burmese Chinese, also Sino-Burmese or Tayoke, are a group of overseas Chinese born or raised in Myanmar (Burma). Among the under-documented Chinese populations are those of mixed background but are not counted due to the lack of reliable census taking. As of 2012, the Burmese Chinese population is estimated to be at 1.6 to 3.0 million.
The Hoa people are Vietnamese people of full or partial Han Chinese ancestry. They are an ethnic minority group in Vietnam and a part of the overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia. They may also be called "Chinese-Vietnamese" or "Chinese people living in/from Vietnam" by the Vietnamese and Chinese diaspora and by the Overseas Vietnamese.
Nanyang is a sinocentric Chinese term for the warmer and fertile geographical region along the southern coastal regions of China and beyond, otherwise known as the 'South Sea' or Southeast Asia. The term came into common usage in self-reference to the large ethnic Chinese migrant population in Southeast Asia, and is contrasted with Xiyang, which refers to the Western world, Dongyang, which refers to East Asian cultural sphere and occasionally including the Greater India, and Beiyang, which refers to Russia. The Chinese press regularly uses the term to refer to the region stretching from Yunnan Province to Singapore and from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam ; in addition, the term also refers to Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines in the region it encompasses.
The Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) is a Thai conglomerate based in Bangkok. It is Thailand's largest private company and one of the world's largest conglomerates. The company describes itself as having eight business lines covering 13 business groups. As of 2020 the group has investments in 21 countries.
Chinese Cambodians or Sino-Khmers, are Cambodian citizens of Chinese or partial Chinese descent. The Khmer term Khmer Kat Chen is used for people of mixed Cambodian and Chinese descent while Chen Khmer can mean Cambodian-born citizen of Chinese ancestry. Khmer people constitute the largest ethnic group in Cambodia among whom Chen means "Chinese". Contact with ethnic Chinese people such as envoys, merchants, travelers and diplomats who regularly visited Indochina verifiably existed since the beginning of the common era. However the earliest record of an ethnic Chinese community in Cambodia dates to the 13th century. As a result of a century-long settlement history people with mixed Chinese and Khmer ancestry account for a sizable portion of the population.
Tiger Cub Economies collectively refer to the economies of the developing countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, the five dominant countries in Southeast Asia.
Murray Lew Weidenbaum, was an American economist and author. He was the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor and Honorary Chairman of the Murray Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis. He has served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy (1969–1971). He was chairman of President Ronald Reagan's first Council of Economic Advisors from 1981 to 1982.
The Laotian Chinese are an overseas Chinese community who live in Laos. At present, they constitute an estimated 2% of the population. The Laotian Chinese community have a disproportionately large presence in the Laotian business sector and dominate the Laotian economy today.
Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values than simply economic ones.
East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The modern states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. China, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan are all unrecognized by at least one other East Asian state due to severe ongoing political tensions in the region, specifically the division of Korea and the political status of Taiwan. Hong Kong and Macau, two small coastal quasi-dependent territories located in the south of China, are officially highly autonomous but are under de jure Chinese sovereignty. Siberia borders East Asia's north, Southeast Asia the south, South Asia the southwest and Central Asia the west. To the east is the Pacific Ocean and to the southeast is Micronesia.
The ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a free-trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People's Republic of China.
China–Thailand relations officially started in November 1975 after years of negotiations. For a long time, Thailand, which used to be called Siam, was a very strong and loyal Sinophilic country. China was usually greatly respected in Siam and ensured the alliance of both countries. However, after Plaek Phibunsongkhram attempted to erase and prohibit Chinese, relations were seriously damaged.
Janet Tai Landa is a Canadian economist, researcher and professor at York University, Toronto. She teaches the law and economics of public choice to undergraduate and graduate students. The aim of her research, for more than two decades, has been the law and economic analysis of legal institutions including culture – she investigated how the social order is achieved through social norms that are embodied in ethnic commerce networks and the exchange of gifts. She published numerous research papers on the trust, ethnicity and identity of Chinese merchants in Southeast Asia, which have been the central theme of her work on the "economy of identity." Landa’s work had been praised as an important contribution to the new institutional economics literature by Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics. Landa is also the founder and chief editor of Bioeconomics Journal, an international research journal that integrates biology into economics, a journal she launched in 1999 at Kluwer Academic Publishers and now published by Springer.
Chinese firms in Asian economies outside mainland China have been so prominent that Kao coined the concept of "Chinese Commonwealth" to describe the business networks of this diaspora.