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The Overseas Chinese Merchants: The Link In An Interregional Tea Trade

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Chapter Summary

By 1920, tea production in Fujian was in a state of decline. Production in the province continued to use antiquated techniques and the amount of tea produced was insufficient for international trade. Most of the Chinese migrants in Singapore had come from towns and villages in southern Fujian, including Anxi. These migrants also arrived in Xiamen and left the port for Singapore. The closure of markets in Europe and North America and competition from India, Ceylon, Japan and Taiwan left the tea merchants no choice but to establish new branches of their family businesses in Southeast Asia. Clearly, regardless of the political and economic situation in Fujian, the Chinese merchants in Singapore served as an effective link between the tea producers and exporters in Fujian and the clientele in Singapore.

Keywords: Chinese merchants; Fujian; Singapore; Southeast Asia; tea trade; Xiamen

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