|Chinese-speaking World/Sinophone World|
Greater China or the Greater China Region is a term used to refer to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as a unity. As a "phrase of the moment", the precise meaning is not entirely clear, and people may use it for only the commercial ties or only for the cultural actions. The term is not specifically political in usage; ties common between the geographical regions, for instance Chinese-language television, film and music entertainment is commonly attributed to be a cultural aspect of "Greater China". The term is also used with reference to business/economic development, such as Focus Taiwan reporting on "economic integration in the Greater China region". Usage of the term may also vary as to the geographic regions it is meant to imply.
The term Greater China is generally used for referring to the cultural and economic ties between the relevant territories, and is not intended to imply sovereignty. But to avoid any political connotation, the term Chinese-speaking world or Sinophone world is often used instead of Greater China.
The term was used at least as far back as the 1930s by George Cressey to refer to the entire Chinese Empire, as opposed to China proper. Usage by the United States on government maps in the 1940s as a political term included territories claimed by the Republic of China that were part of the previous empire, or geographically to refer to topographical features associated with China that may or may not have lain entirely within Chinese political borders. The concept began to appear again in Chinese-language sources in the late 1970s, referring the growing commercial ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, with the possibility of extending these to Taiwan, with perhaps the first such reference being in a Taiwanese journal Changqiao in 1979. The English term subsequently re-emerged in the 1980s to refer to the growing economic ties between the regions as well as the possibility of political unification. It is not an institutionalized entity such as the EU or ASEAN. The concept is a generalization to group several markets seen to been closely linked economically and does not imply sovereignty.
Usage in finance
In the financial context, a number of Greater China stocks and funds exist. For example, the ING Greater China Fund invests 80% of its assets in the Greater China region, which in their definition "consists of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan". Similarly, the Dreyfus Greater China Fund invests in assets in companies that "are principally traded in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan" or have either the majority of their assets or revenues from this region., as does the JF Greater China Fund, and the HSBC Greater China Fund prior to February 2009 (after which it dropped Taiwanese assets from its portfolio and was renamed to the HSBC China Region Fund). Numerous other examples exist.
The term is often used to avoid invoking sensitivities over the political status of Taiwan. Some supporters of Chinese reunification object to the term as it implies that "Greater China" is different from China. For many Asians, the term is a reminder of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", a euphemism for the region controlled by the Japanese Empire during the Second World War.
At the time the term started gaining currency in the 1980s, it began to meet with objections from those representing mainland Chinese interests. One scholar described typical objections:
From the national perspective, we reject the concept of a Greater China. From the legal perspective, we cannot mix up different nationals [simply] because they have the same language and culture as we do . . . [Similarly], most Southeast Asian Chinese reject this concept. [But] Taiwan likes this view of Greater China. It is a business concept to capitalize on China's development. Western scholars see a stronger China and project their own model by exaggerating data on overseas-Chinese development. This problem must be seen on the level of government-to-government relations. We see things as a business matter. Overseas Chinese come not because they are patriotic but because of investment benefits. We need to clearly differentiate between those who are nationals, and those who are from overseas.— Huang Kunzhang, professor at Shantou University
- "Apple overtakes Lenovo in China sales". Financial Times. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- MTV Channels In Southeast Asia and Greater China To Exclusively Air The Youth Inaugural Ball - MTV Asia
- June 1, 2008, Universal Music Group realigns presence in Greater China, Television Asia (Article archive at Newser)
- Harding, Harry (Dec 1993). "The Concept of 'Greater China': Themes, Variations and Reservations". The China Quarterly (136, Special Issue: Greater China): 660.
- Aretz, Tilman (2007). The greater China factbook. Taipei: Taiwan Elite Press. ISBN 978-986-7762-97-9. OCLC 264977502.
- "Prospectus - ING Global and International Equity and Fixed-Income Funds - Class A, B,". ING Funds. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Dreyfus Greater China Fund (prospectus)" (PDF). Dreyfus Corporation. 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "J.P. Morgan Country/Region Funds: Class A, Class B & Class C Shares" (PDF). JPMorgan Funds. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- "HSBC Chinese Equity Fund (Factsheet)" (PDF). HSBC Global Asset Management (UK). 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Langston, Rob (2009-02-23). "HSBC announces changes to Greater China fund". FT Advisor. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Shambaugh, David (Dec 1993). "Introduction: The Emergence of 'Greater China'". The China Quarterly (136, Special Issue: Greater China): 654.
- Aihwa Ong (1999). Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Duke University Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-8223-2269-2.