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Entrepreneurial Strategies Of Hadhrami Arabs In Southeast Asia, C. 1750s–1950s

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Chapter Summary

The entrepreneurial skills of Hadhrami Arabs in Southeast Asia have been unfavourably compared to those of other diasporas, notably the Chinese, but this chapter disputes such an interpretation. The chapter considers Hadhrami enterprise in Southeast Asia from the late eighteenth century to the aftermath of the Second World War, outlining three waves of economic activity. These overlapped considerably, so that it was a question of varying emphasis in different periods. The chapter critically examines the notion that this community suffered from a &t;failure&t; to develop its own banks. Hadhramis were well represented in urban real estate from the early nineteenth century, notably in Singapore and Penang, where the Chinese were slow off the mark. Trade became more prominent as shipping declined, with Hadhramis exporting essentially within Asian waters. The great Hadhrami financial speciality in Southeast Asia was the lending of cash, secured on assets such as jewellery and urban property.

Keywords: economic activity; entrepreneurial skills; financial services; Hadhrami Arabs; real estate; Southeast Asia



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