Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China: Banking on the Chinese Frontier, 1870-1919

Finalist for the Hagley Prize in Business History 2023

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.

Cambridge University Press | ISBN: 9781316517031 | July 2022

‘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

‘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, Business History

‘An important and original book.’

Hubert Bonin, EH.Net

Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China was also reviewed in: Journal of Chinese History and LSE Review of Books.