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Title: The China coast : a study of British shipping in Chinese waters, 1842-1914
Author: Blue, Archibald Duncan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3468 3848
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 1982
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This study describes the development of British shipping in Chinese waters in the first seven decades of the treaty port era, and compares its success with the comparative lack of success of other British industries concerned with the China trade. The advantages resulting from British supremacy in India, extending east to Singapore, Hong Kong, and finally Shanghai, are examined, and the unique circumstances in China which made British maritime predominance possible. Cabotage - the reservation to a country of the maritime trade in its own waters - was denied China under the treaty port system, leading to international rivalry in shipping. In the backward state of China, the British companies developing the coast and river trade, had themselves to provide certain ancillary services such as dockyards, godowns, lighterage, insurance, etc. The principal British companies concerned, the China Navigation and Indo-China Steam Navigation Companies, accomplished this by drawing on the capital resources and expertise of their parent companies, John Swire and Sons and Jardine, Matheson and Company respectively. These powerful companies were able to negotiate favourable terms from their American and Chinese rivals on the most important coast and Yangtze services, and maintain their predominance when further competition came from subsidised German and Japanese shipping. Another factor benefiting British shipping when the treaty port era. began, was English, or pidgin English, being the lingua franca on the coast; an additional factor resulting from naval operations during the Opium Wars, being greater knowledge of the coast and Yangtze. Then there was the immediate appointment of British Consuls to the newly opened treaty ports, whose knowledge of the language, culture, and history of China, was greatly superior to that of other foreign consuls. In association with the Customs Commissioners of the newly formed Chinese Maritime Customs, many of them British and some former members of the British China Consular Service, favourable conditions for'. the promotion of British shipping and commerce were created. In assessing these various factors, it appears that technical superiority played a comparatively minor role in British success on the China coast.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: History