A comprador or compradore (English: /kɒmprəˈdɔːr/) is a "person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation". A comprador is a native manager for a European business house in East and South East Asia, and, by extension, social groups that play broadly similar roles in other parts of the world.
The term comprador, a Portuguese word that means buyer, derives from the Latincomprare, which means to procure. The original usage of the word in East Asia meant a native servant in European households in Guangzhou in southern China or the neighboring Portuguesecolony at Macao that went to market to barter their employers' wares. The term then evolved to mean the native contract suppliers who worked for foreign companies in East Asia or the native managers of firms in East Asia. Compradors held important positions in southern China buying and selling tea, silk, cotton and yarn for foreign corporations and working in foreign-owned banks.Robert Hotung, a late-nineteenth-century compradore of the trading conglomerateJardine, Matheson & Co. was believed to be the richest man in Hong Kong by the age of 35.Li & Fung partly functioned as a Canton comprador in its early stages.
With the emergence or the re-emergence of globalization, the term "comprador" has reentered the lexicon to denote trading groups and classes in the developing world in subordinate but mutually-advantageous relationships with metropolitan capital. The Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin has discussed the role of compradors in the contemporary global economy in his recent work. In addition, the Indian economist Ashok Mitra has accused the owners and managers of firms attached to the Indian software industry of being compradors. Growing identification of the software industry in India with comprador "qualities" has led to the labeling of certain persons associated with the industry as "dot.compradors."
In Marxist terminology, comprador bourgeoisie, perceived as the serving the interests of foreign imperial powers, is counterposed to national bourgeoisie which is considered as opposing foreign imperialism and promoting the independence of its own country and, as such, could be, under some circumstances, a short-term ally of socialist revolutionaries.
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