Change and Continuity in Southeast Asian Ethnic Chinese Business

  • Yeung H
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The 1997/1998 Asian economic crisis has fundamentally reshaped the economic organization of ethnic Chinese business in Southeast Asia. In this paper, I outline some of the most significant contextual changes that impinge on Southeast Asian ethnic Chinese business in recent years, in particular the changing political-economic alliances in Southeast Asia, the interpenetration of globalization processes and the rise of mainland China as a significant player in the global economy. I argue that these changes have led to a more globalizing orientation of ethnic Chinese business in Southeast Asia. In making this case for globalizing ethnic Chinese business in Southeast Asia, I am concurrently aware of the continual existence and discursive reconstitution of some distinctive elements of ethnic Chinese capitalism. This continuity in ethnic Chinese capitalism points to its growing hybridization–a transformative process in which traditional and new elements are continuously morphed and recombined into something that resembles neither ethnic Chinese capitalism as we knew it nor global capitalism. Instead, a hybrid form of ethnic Chinese capitalism emerges as a distinctive feature in today's Southeast Asian business landscape.

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  • H. W. C. Yeung

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