Trade and Society: The Amoy Network on the China Coast, 1683-1735

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By Ng Chin-keong

The book examines the social and economic changes in south Fukien (Fujian) on the southeast coast of China during late imperial times. Faced with land shortages and overpopulation, the rural population of south Fukien turned to the sea in search of fresh opportunities to secure a livelihood. With the tacit support of local officials and the scholar gentry, the merchants played the pivotal role in long-distance trade, and the commercial networks they established spanned the entire China coast, making the port city of Amoy (Xiamen) a major centre for maritime trade.

In the work, the author discusses four interrelated spheres of activity, namely, the traditional rural sector, the port cities, the coastal trade and the overseas trade links. He argues that the creative use of clan organizations was key to the growth of the Amoy network along the coast as well as overseas.


"This study of the traders of Amoy provides an illuminating backdrop to their activities in Southeast Asia during the eighteenth century and after. It is an authoritative work that is indispensable to any student of that period of East Asian history."
Wang Gungwu

"As studies of maritime China continue to grow, Ng's book will remain a landmark in the maturing of the field."
John E. Wills, Jr., University of Southern California

"The usefulness and depth of this excellent book becomes ever more apparent as one reads on."
James Hayes

"This books leaves nothing to be desired in the way of clarity of presentation, and will remain the definitive work on the subject."
C. R. Boxer, The British Academy


Ng Chin-keong was Professor of Chinese History at the National University of Singapore until his retirement in 2006.


Second Edition
Publication Year: 2014
344 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-773-0, Paperback

NUS Press