Ethnic enclaves of transnational migrants in guangzhou a case study of xiaobei
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Ethnic enclaves of Transnational Migrants in Guangzhou ——A case study of Xiaobei. Dr. Zhigang Li Associate Professor Centre for Urban and Regional Studies Sun Yat-sen University Guangzhou, China. Outline. 1.Globalizing urban China and new enclaves

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Ethnic enclaves of transnational migrants in guangzhou a case study of xiaobei

Ethnic enclaves of Transnational Migrants in Guangzhou——A case study of Xiaobei

Dr. Zhigang Li

Associate Professor

Centre for Urban and Regional Studies

Sun Yat-sen University

Guangzhou, China


1.Globalizing urban China and new enclaves

2.Transnational migrants and ethnic enclaves

3.An empirical Study: Xiaobei, Guangzhou

  • Ethnic enclaves of Guangzhou

  • African Traders in Xiaobei

  • Residential Segregation?

    4.Discussions and Conclusions

Chasing the Chinese DreamA Growing Number of the World's Emigrants Are Heading East, Rather Than West, in Search of Safety, Tolerance and OpportunityBy Ariana Eunjung ChaWashington Post Foreign ServiceSunday, October 21, 2007; A16

  • 450,000, Residence permit

  • 700, Green cards(2004-)

Ethnic enclaves china
Ethnic enclaves + China

  • Beijing, Wangjing

  • Shanghai, Gubei and Huamu

  • Qingdao, Chengyang

  • Shenyang, Ta’xi

  • Yiwu, ‘Arabic street’

  • Dongguan, HongKongese Community

Wangjing, a large scale commodity housing estate of Chaoyang District in Beijing, has become a South Korean enclave where above 60,000 South Koreans live, making it the largest South Korean village in Beijing.

…Larger and more permanent than those frequented by expatriate businessmen on temporary assignment, the new enclaves evoke pre-revolutionary China, where cities such as Shanghai bustled with concessions dominated by French, British and Japanese…’ (Cha, 2007)


What is the implication of globalization upon sociospatial restructuring of post-reform Chinese cities?

Transnational migrants and ethnic enclaves
Transnational migrants and ethnic enclaves

  • ‘transmigrants’, ‘transnational social field/social space/community’, ‘Diaspora’ (Portes 1987; 1996 ), ‘Globalisation from below’ (Portes 1996; Guarnizo and Smith 1998; Schiller and Fouron 1998) ’

  • Transnationalism:

    ‘…the process by which transmigrants, through their daily activities, forge and sustain multi-stranded social, economic, and political relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement, and through which they create transnational social fields that cross national borders…’ (Basch, et al. 1994; Gugler 2004)

  • The literature of transnational migrants, however, preoccupied with migration to the global North.

  • Especially, though the nations of transitional economy embrace the West in the 1990s, while the residential control upon foreign migrants is loosen, few empirically studies have been conducted to look closely at the rising number of transnational immigrants

  • In terms of the three forces that shape contemporary urban China, i.e. market reform, migrants and globalisation (Logan 2001), the impact of former two forces have been extensively studied, the latter, especially the practical undertakers of globalisation, immigrants and their implications, has been largely ignored (Wu and Webber 2004; Lin and Tse 2005).

Transnational migrants and their enclaves in guangzhou
Transnational migrants and their enclaves, such as their enclaves in Guangzhou

  • Guangzhou: a market city

  • Guangzhou’s five enclaves

  • Xiaobei, an enclave of African traders

Guangzhou a market of china
Guangzhou: A market of China their enclaves, such as

Cecf chinese export commodities fair
CECF their enclaves, such as (Chinese Export Commodities Fair)

Five sites their enclaves, such as

  • Sanyuan li

  • Huanshi dong

  • Tianhe bei

  • Er’sha Island

  • Dashi

Xiaobei their enclaves, such as

The survey
The survey their enclaves, such as

  • 2006,Questionnaire: 80(43), 40(35)

  • 2007, Semi-structured interview: 46

Who are they
Who are they? their enclaves, such as

  • Nationality: Sub-Saharan Africans

  • Profession: Traders

  • Language: French, English, Chinese, Cantonese

  • Religions: Muslims and Christians

  • Capital: Rich and poor

  • History of relation with China: Long and short

How many
How many? their enclaves, such as

  • 20,000-200,000

How long
How long…? their enclaves, such as

What kinds of business
What kinds of business? their enclaves, such as

  • Salesman (行商-Xingshang) (Monthly, yearly)

  • Tradesman (坐贾-Zuogu) (500, Cargo)

‘They sell everything’

‘Shoes, clothes, cell-phones, MP3, from toothpick to motorcycle’

However… their enclaves, such as

So, Africans immigrants VS Sichuan migrants

Segregation? their enclaves, such as

Local responses
Local responses their enclaves, such as

Why guangzhou
Why Guangzhou their enclaves, such as

  • Rather than Shanghai, Beijing…?

  • Wholesale Market

  • Muslim history

  • Regional context

  • Entrepreneurial cultural

  • Climate and weather

World factory
World factory their enclaves, such as

  • Differ to the theory of transnational migrants such as the segmented labour market in the US, the rising of transnational ethnic enclave in Guangzhou is largely attributed to the ‘world factory’ status of the PRD

Transmigrants their enclaves, such as

  • Transnational migrants in Xiaobei are composed of a highly diversified group. Though they mainly come from Middle-West Africa, they hold different socio-economic background, trading different goods, sharing various religions, different culture and languages.

Segregation their enclaves, such as

  • Xiaobei serves as a vital, albeit unorthodox, economic institution for the welfare of transnational African traders.

  • Nevertheless, it is found that some local residents, businessmen and property managers have begun to take measures resist the newly arrival of Blacks. They either remove from Xiaobei, or curb the Blacks to move in.

  • Add a new dimension of sociospatial segregation for urban China, i.e. ethnicity

Future research
Future research their enclaves, such as

  • Social networks of transnational African traders

  • The links between Guangzhou, Yiwu and Dubai in terms of global trading

Thanks their enclaves, such as