Date & time
This is the Final submission presentation of Meizhen Wen on the topic of "Pursuing the Chinese Dream: Arab entrepreneurs in East China". 11am, 26 July 2019 - CIW Seminar Room.
In 2016, there were more than 4000 Arab entrepreneurs in Yiwu, mainly engaged in exporting small commodities back to their home countries. The rise of Arab entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa into Yiwu, a county-level city in Zhejiang Province, the People’s Republic of China, has received unprecedented attention in the context of One-Belt, One Road Policy. Yet little has been said about what attracts them to Yiwu, their role in building multinational trading networks, and their increasingly diverse modes of interaction with the majority Chinese community. Drawing on twelve months consistently fieldwork since November 2015 to December 2016 and following-up two research trips in 2017 November and 2019 February, this project examines Arab entrepreneurs’ lives and businesses in China. I will show how Arab entrepreneurs establish cross-cultural trust with their Chinese partners to maintain transnational trading system, and outline what their social and business interactions tell us about migrant entrepreneurship and interracial dynamics in China. In telling the stories of these Arab residents in China, I engage with ongoing debates concerning migrant entrepreneurial communities in China, the informal economy and globalization more broadly.