Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

'Little India' in China: Indian Traders in a Chinese Fabric Market

Date
8 March 2017
Time
Series
China Seminar
Address
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 1
2311 BZ Leiden
Room
6

Keqiao, a county-level district under Shaoxing municipality in the eastern Zhejiang Province, is not only a global trading frontier, but also a ‘Little India’ in China. Its wholesale market accounts for one-third annual turnover of China-made fabrics - the semi-finished textiles that are industrially weaved, knitted, dyed, and printed in bulk before being exported. In the local market, about 5,000 Indians have established intermediary businesses, brokering fabric trade deals for their overseas buyers. Drawing on long-term anthropological fieldwork (2011-2012; 2016-2017), this talk aims to explore the everyday business experience of these Indians in Keqiao. It unpacks the economic niche that they have created, as well as the global trading networks that have sustained this niche in the local market. In so doing, the talk seeks to bring attention to the significance of this group of Indians in the global fabric trade.