CfP: Business History Special Issue: “The Global Economy and the Origins of Modern Chinese Business”


This Special Issue for the journal Business History has two objectives: First, it wishes to contribute to the writing of an “alternative business history” of developing economies that is sensitive to the unique circumstances businesses in these economies were confronted with and complements the business history scholarship on Western Europe, North America and Japan (Austin, Davila, and Jones 2017). Given that the study of the historical development of Chinese business has so far had relatively little contact with the academic field of business history (Frost 2022), a second, connected goal of the special issue is to bring new research on the history of Chinese business to the attention of the larger business history community.  Following recent scholarship that studies Chinese business from a global perspective (e.g., Wong 2022, Kang 2022, Moazzin 2022), the special issue lays a particular focus on China’s interaction with the global economy.

Drawing on the special characteristics of business enterprise in emerging markets developed by Austin, Davila and Jones (2017), the special issue is particularly interested in articles on the following topics, questions and themes:

  • The Great Divergence: What impact did China’s relative economic underdevelopment have on the activities of Chinese businesses? What role did Chinese business institutions play in Chinese attempts of catching up economically with developed countries?
  • Colonialism and Imperialism: What impact did colonialism and imperialism have on the development of Chinese business and the specific challenges they faced?
  • The State: How did the relationship between the state and private enterprise develop over the past two centuries? What impact did the state have on the operations and development of Chinese business?
  • Institutions: How did institutional shortcomings in the Chinese economy influence Chinese businesses and the strategies they developed?
  • Instability: How did Chinese businesses deal with the political, social and economic turbulences China witnessed during the the 19th and 20th centuries?

Submission Instructions

The deadline for submitting an abstract is the March 15, 2023 via email (to editors of this Special Issue would then invite shortlisted contributors to submit their full papers by April 30, 2023.
An online paper development workshop for the special issue will be held in May and the deadline for the submission of final papers for peer review will be June 30, 2023.
Submission of a paper for the special issue means that authors confirm that the submitted paper has not been previously published and is not under review elsewhere. All papers will go through Business History’s usual peer review process.
Any enquiries should be addressed to John D. Wong (, Jin-A Kang ( or Ghassan Moazzin (


Austin, Gareth, Carlos Dávila, and Geoffrey Jones. “The Alternative Business History: Business in Emerging Markets.” Business History Review 91, no. 3 (2017): 537–69.
Frost, Adam K. “Reframing Chinese Business History.” Business History Review 96, No. 2 (2022): 245-287.
Kang, Jin-A.  “Monetary war between Nanjing and Guangzhou during the great depression: Financial unification and national versus local politics in China in the 1930s,” in Chi-cheung Choi, Tomoko Shiroyama and Venus Viana ed., Strenuous Decades: Global Challenges and Transformation of Chinese Societies in Modern Asia, Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2022.
Moazzin, Ghassan.  Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China: Banking on the Chinese Frontier, 1870–1919. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
Wong, John D. Hong Kong Takes Flight: Commercial Aviation and the Making of a Global Hub, 1930s – 1998.  Harvard University Asia Center, 2022.