Comfortably Invisible: The Life of Chinese Migrants Around ‘The Four Tigers Market’ in Budapest

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In this chapter we will take an inside look at inter-group relations between Hungarians and non-EU immigrants – in particular, those from China and Vietnam – who live side by side in the vicinity of the Four Tigers Market which has become the largest wholesale centre for Chinese and Vietnamese products within Eastern Europe in the last two decades (Nyíri, Magyarország helye a kínaiak világkereskedelmi hálózatában. In Táborlakók, diaszpórák, politikák (pp 130–138). Budapest: MTA Politikai Tudományok Intézete; 1996). The part of the city stretching from Józsefváros (8th district) to Kőbánya (10th district) was selected as a field of investigation to inquire how the fragmented, post-socialist host society encountered the mainly economy-driven Asian migration that started in the early 1990s. In the residential and business interaction sites that we have investigated, long-held prejudices as well as a well-kept distance shape the everyday social encounters of the inhabitants. The active interaction between native Hungarians and Asian immigrants – both in residential and working sites – is almost exclusively of a business nature. Wider inter-group relations are hindered by several factors: the highly xenophobic attitude widespread among Hungarians, the prejudiced thinking and incompetence of policy makers, the financial instability if NGOs and their exposure to current political will, and last but not least, the passive role of local and national media.




Szalai, B., & La-Torre, K. (2016). Comfortably Invisible: The Life of Chinese Migrants Around ‘The Four Tigers Market’ in Budapest. In IMISCOE Research Series (pp. 69–87). Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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