Dr. GAO Chong recently published a journal article “Navigating the landscape of Guangzhou’s time-honoured business: From the 19th-century flowscape to the Belt and Road Initiative”, in Asian Journal of Social Science, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp.198-206. (Co-author: Khun Eng Kuah, SSCI indexed, published by the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore and Elsevier)

Using some data collected for a wider research project funded by RGC (Faculty Development Scheme, Ref no.: UGC/FDS15/H07/17), this article explores the connection between time-honoured businesses (commonly known as laozihao 老字号) in Guangzhou and local community as well as overseas Cantonese communities in a long sociohistorical process. Guangzhou’s laozihao businesses have long been believed as an integrated part of local community while have nevertheless been caught up in the economic and cultural flowscapes of their times as they have followed the migration trajectories of the mainland Chinese. As these traders, businesspeople and migrants have moved and relocated from their hometown to overseas locations, they have also brought along their understanding of their culture, including the cultural elements that are associated with the businesses that they are involved in. This paper will explore the flowscapes and transformation of Guangzhou's laozihao that involved the mainland Chinese and Chinese diaspora communities during two periods. The first period stretched from the 19th century through to 1949 when mainland China came under Communist rule. The second phase started after the 1978 Open Door Policy and has continued through the introduction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 till today. The Belt and Road Initiative has provided a strategic and opportunistic moment for these time-honoured businesses to reinvent and realign their business to suit the modern needs of the 21st century.  

Link to the article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S156848492100071X