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'Decentering': The Rise Of Hong Kong As A Network Society

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Chapter Summary

The old phenomenon of Chinese business networks experienced a phase of spectacular growth during the modern era. Since the middle of nineteenth century, Hong Kong transformed itself into something that is far more vital in its growth and far more extensive in its reach. The key lies in the very fact that this transformation occurred on the periphery of society. It looks as though a strong centre would inhibit the growth of networks, and that only when a centre declines would networks flourish. In other words, it is the process of what one may call 'decentering' that leads to the rise of entrepreneurial networks in a society. With the fluidity of movement of people through its borders, Hong Kong has evolved into a distinctive form of network society, which is a new phenomenon on the China coast.

Keywords: Hong Kong society; network society; traditional China

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