Chinese Capitalism in Colonial Malaya: 1900-1941 delineates the development of the Chinese sector of the economy in colonial Malaya under the rubric of Chinese capitalism during the period 1900-1941. It traces the growth of Chinese business enterprises to their origins in the nineteenth century and against a backdrop of the global expansion of Western capitalism and the political and socioeconomic framework of colonial Malaya. Based on large amounts of primary and secondary sources, Chinese Capitalism in Colonial Malaya: 1900-1941 provides an overview of Chinese business endeavours m major sectors of the economy, including tin mining, rubber planting, the secondary industries, shipping, pawnbroking and banking.
The role of entrepreneurship is highlighted in the careers of numerous Chinese businessmen across a wide range of trades and industries, while the contribution of the working class to the making of Chinese capitalism is duly acknowledged. Locating the growth of Chinese capitalism within the context of socioeconomic framework, state policies and the international environment, this study demonstrates that British colonialism provided the nurturing ground for Chinese capitalism whilst imposing a fetter on its further growth. Within the overall structure, emphasis is given to human agency as the dynamic factor driving business growth. The author argues that the Weberian theory or its Asian version is not an appropriate framework for an understanding of Chinese capitalism.
“The work is clearly written and carefully argued, the methodology sound, the sources and references rich, and the quality of research consistently good. It is a very significant contribution to knowledge.” – Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman of the East Asian institute, National University of Singapore, and Emeritus Professor, Australian National University.