Bamboo network

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Bamboo network
Map of the bamboo network
Legend
  Bamboo network
  Greater China region
Countries and territories Myanmar Myanmar
 Cambodia
 Indonesia
 Laos
 Malaysia
 Philippines
 Singapore
 Thailand
 Vietnam
Languages and language families Chinese, English, Burmese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, and many others
Major cities Thailand Bangkok
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City
Indonesia Jakarta
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
Myanmar Mandalay
Philippines Manila
Cambodia Phnom Penh
Singapore Singapore
Laos Vientiane

The "Bamboo network" or the "Chinese Commonwealth" is a term used to conceptualize connections between businesses operated by the Overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia.[1][2] It links the Overseas Chinese business community of Southeast Asia, namely Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore with the economies of Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan).[3] Ethnic Chinese play an important economic role in Southeast Asia since they dominate commerce and the business sector and form the economic elite across all the major Southeast Asian countries.[4] Overseas Chinese have dominated much of the economy in Singapore, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia since the 19th century and today exert a powerful economic influence throughout the region.[5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8][9]

Structure[edit]

Overseas Chinese businesses in Southeast Asia are usually family owned and managed through a centralized bureaucracy.[3][10] The businesses are usually managed as family businesses as they are passed down from one generation to the next.[3][11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14][15][16] 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.[17]

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.[18]

History[edit]

The bamboo network has played a role in the commercial life of Southeast Asia long before the European colonial era. In the early 1400s, the Chinese Ming Dynasty Admiral Zheng He under the Yongle Emperor led a fleet of three hundred vessels around Southeast Asia during the Ming treasure voyages.[19] 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, with the remainder of the tiny Chinese community acting as his agents.[20] Chinese emigrants from Southern China settled in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to seek their financial destiny through entrepreneurship and business success.[21] 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.[18] 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.[21][22][23]

Economic aptitude[edit]

Throughout Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese are a dominant market minority that exercise a disproportionate amount of economic influence across the region relative to their small population.[24][25][26][27] Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs play a leading role and dominate commerce and industry throughout the economies of Southeast Asia at every level of society.[28] The ethnic Overseas Chinese communities collectively control virtually all of the regions most advanced and lucrative industries as well as its economic crown jewels.[29] 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.[30] Economic power held by the ethnic Chinese across the Southeast Asian economies have a tremendous impact on the regions per capita income, vitality of economic output, and aggregate prosperity. The onset of modern economic liberalization and globalization has led rival indigenous Southeast Asian traders to have entirely been displaced and dominated by Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs.[31] 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 native indigenous Southeast Asians majorities has resulted hostility, resentment, distrust, and anti-Chinese sentiment blaming their extreme socioeconomic failures on the Chinese.[32] 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 Chinese as well as giving affirmative action privileges to the indigenous Southeast Asian majorities first while imposing reverse discrimination against the Chinese minority to gain a more equitable balance of economic power.[33][34][35]

1997 Asian financial crisis[edit]

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.[36] After the crisis, business relationships were more frequently based on contracts, rather than the trust and family ties of the traditional bamboo network.[37]

21st century[edit]

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. Bamboo network businesses invested heavily in China, influenced by shared and existing ethnic, cultural and language affinities.[38] Since the turn of the 21st century, postcolonial Southeast Asia has now become an important pillar of the international Overseas Chinese economy.[39] 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.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pablos, Patricia (2008). The China Information Technology Handbook. Springer. p. 204. 
  2. ^ Cheung, Gordon C. K.; Gomez, Edmund Terence (Spring 2012). "Hong Kong's Diaspora, Networks, and Family Business in the United Kingdom: A History of the Chinese "Food Chain" and the Case of W. Wing Yip Group". China Review. Chinese University Press. 12 (1): 48. ISSN 1680-2012. JSTOR 23462317. (Subscription required (help)). 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. 
  3. ^ a b c Murray L Weidenbaum (1 January 1996). The Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia. Martin Kessler Books, Free Press. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0-684-82289-1. 
  4. ^ Suryadinata, Leo (2017). The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas: A Study of Beijing's Changing Policy in Southeast Asia and Beyond. Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute (published January 25, 2017). p. 18. ISBN 978-9814762649. 
  5. ^ Hays, Jeffrey (June 15, 2015). "Chinese in Cambodia After the Khmer Rouge". Facts and Details. 
  6. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. pp. 35–42. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  7. ^ Slezkine, Yuri (2004). The Jewish Century. Princeton University Press. p. 33. 
  8. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  9. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  10. ^ Pablos, Patricia (2008). The China Information Technology Handbook. Springer. p. 205. 
  11. ^ Pablos, Patricia (2008). The China Information Technology Handbook. Springer. p. 205. 
  12. ^ Murray Weidenbaum (1 September 2005). One-Armed Economist: On the Intersection of Business And Government. Transaction Publishers. pp. 264–265. ISBN 978-1-4128-3020-1. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Weidenbaum, Murray (2012). The Dynamic American Firm. Springer (published February 10, 2012). p. 80. ISBN 978-1461313144. 
  14. ^ Paz Estrella Tolentino (2007). H. W-c Yeung, ed. Handbook of Research on Asian Business. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 412. ISBN 978-1-84720-318-2. 
  15. ^ "Templates of "Chineseness" and Trajectories of Cambodian Chinese Entrepreneurship in Phnom Penh*". Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. p. 68. 
  16. ^ Pablos, Patricia (2008). The China Information Technology Handbook. Springer. p. 201. 
  17. ^ Pablos, Patricia (2008). The China Information Technology Handbook. Springer. p. 204. 
  18. ^ a b Murray L Weidenbaum (1 January 1996). The Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia. Martin Kessler Books, Free Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-684-82289-1. 
  19. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  20. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  21. ^ a b Murray L Weidenbaum (1 January 1996). The Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia. Martin Kessler Books, Free Press. pp. 23–28. ISBN 978-0-684-82289-1. 
  22. ^ "Templates of "Chineseness" and Trajectories of Cambodian Chinese Entrepreneurship in Phnom Penh*". Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. pp. 78 & 90. 
  23. ^ "Templates of "Chineseness" and Trajectories of Cambodian Chinese Entrepreneurship in Phnom Penh*". Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. p. 68. 
  24. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  25. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  26. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  27. ^ Kettell, Collin (July 7, 2015). "Robert Kiyosaki: Biggest Stock Market Crash in History Coming in 2016". Kitco. 
  28. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  29. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  30. ^ "Templates of "Chineseness" and Trajectories of Cambodian Chinese Entrepreneurship in Phnom Penh*". Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. p. 70. 
  31. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  32. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. pp. 37–47. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  33. ^ Chua, Amy (2003). World On Fire. Knopf Doubleday Publishing. pp. 179–183. ISBN 978-0385721868. 
  34. ^ Gomez, Edmund (2012). Chinese business in Malaysia. Routledge. p. 105. ISBN 978-0415517379. 
  35. ^ Gambe, Annabelle (2000). "Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Development in Southeast Asia". Palgrave Macmillan. p. 26-27. ISBN 978-0312234966. 
  36. ^ Yeung, Henry. "Change and Continuity in SE Asian Ethnic Chinese Business" (PDF). Department of Geography, National University of Singapore,. 
  37. ^ Min Chen (2004). Asian Management Systems: Chinese, Japanese and Korean Styles of Business. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-86152-941-1. 
  38. ^ a b Quinlan, Joe (November 13, 2007). "Insight: China's capital targets Asia's bamboo network". Financial Times. 
  39. ^ Slezkine, Yuri (2004). The Jewish Century. Princeton University Press. p. 33.