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  • Cited by 5
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2022
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Book description

In this wide-ranging study, Ghassan Moazzin sheds critical new light on the history of foreign banks in late nineteenth and early twentieth century China, a time that saw a substantial influx of foreign financial institutions into China and a rapid increase of both China's foreign trade and its interactions with international capital markets. Drawing on a broad range of German, English, Japanese and Chinese primary sources, including business records, government documents and personal papers, Moazzin reconstructs how during this period foreign banks facilitated China's financial integration into the first global economy and provided the financial infrastructure required for modern economic globalization in China. Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China shows the key role international finance and foreign banks and capital markets played at important turning points in modern Chinese history.


Finalist, 2023 Hagley Book Prize in Business History, Business History Conference

Honorable Mention, 2024 Ralph Gomory Prize, The Business History Conference

Co-Winner, 2024 First Monograph Prize in Economic and/or Social History, Economic History Society


‘Moazzin's study shows the ambiguities of negotiating financial and political interests with great nuance and objectivity. Based on a mountain of qualitative and quantitative archival data, Moazzin manages to unearth the complex nature of transnational financial flows, networks, and their institutional constraints before WWI. Most importantly, he reminds us that the impact of financial globalization failed to produce clear winners and losers in the process.’

Elisabeth Köll - The University of Notre Dame

‘Moazzin’s history of foreign banks and global finance in turn of the 20th century China opens a new chapter in the global history of capitalism. Readers will find in its pages an illuminating engrossing story of the roles of European economic actors in a Chinese history of globalization, and a crucial contextualization of the modern global economic order that takes into account the Chinese view.’

Glenda Sluga - University of Sydney

‘Grounded in detailed research, this history will be valuable for all those interested in engaging with China’s economic development.'

George Hong Jiang Source: LSE Review of Books

'Foreign Banks’ key contributions have less to do with offering alternative models of imperial power and more to do with examining the gritty mechanics of banking. On this front, the analysis is masterful … The meticulous archival work also allows the book to raise compelling questions about state capacity and the governing power of money.'

Mary Bridges Source: Business History

‘… a captivating read, accessible to most audiences, and would make an excellent undergraduate textbook for courses on Chinese economic history … Highly recommended.’

D. Li Source: Choice

‘A deeply researched history of DAB and its operations in China as well as a study that makes broader points about the integration of China into world financial markets.’

Austin Dean Source: Journal of Chinese History

‘An original and important book.’

Hubert Bonin Source: EH.Net

‘The thoroughness of his investigation and masterfulness of his analysis made this book not only a scholarly resource, but also an intriguing option for individuals interested in the intricate dynamics of finance, politics, and historical transformation in China’s modernization journey.’

Yitong Qiu Source: The Economic History Review

‘In short, [this book] makes major empirical and conceptual contributions to the field of Chinese history and is a superb specimen of archival scholarship and artful storytelling.’

Matthew Lowenstein Source: The Journal of Asian Studies

‘… a monograph of such quality testifies to years of diligent and astute research. Moazzin draws upon primary sources in four languages (German, Chinese, French, and Japanese); offers a comprehensive review of previous scholarship with a sense of empathy, respect, and even humility; and supplements texts with rigorous numerical analysis.’

Elya Zhang Source: H-Net Reviews

‘This book is a service to the field: the work is painstaking and illuminating.’

Peter Thilly Source: Twentieth-Century China

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