At the end of the seventeenth century, in Guangzhou, Guangdong, there was a region of business hotels ran by trade organizations to receive merchants from distant lands. These establishments uniformly imported foreign products and sold Chinese goods. This was the once powerful “Guangzhou Thirteen-Hong” which attracted merchants from China and afar. The “thirteen” in its name refers to a collection of foreign good trading houses and not a definite number1. The Thirteen-Hong consisted of monopolistic agencies, sometimes referred to as “merchant houses” or “trading houses”, appointed by the Qing government for foreign trade. During the time of its existence, the Thirteen-Hong served as the Qing government’s window of foreign trade and shouldered the responsibility of foreign trade management, significantly impacting the economic history of China. Because the Qing Dynasty adopted a policy of seclusion, foreign trade was allowed only in Guangzhou and the Thirteen-Hong flourished2. During this period, it bridged China with the rest of the world and served as a window for foreign countries to inspect China. Therefore, it also played an important role in the communication between China and the West.
In seventeenth century，the Thirteen-Hong was a place where traded import and output goods in Guangzhou, Chinese.In this picture , we can see a row neat buildings at a glance but each with its own characteristics if you look carefully .The bussinessmen who came all over the world proceed all kinds of commodities trading in these buildings, while the Chinese ecomony was rasing steady by these building.
Written by LiuYuan and YuanPeiting
- Lingnan Literature and History, 2014 (4) the author’s poems, Luo Zhihuan [↩]
- The International Academic Seminar of Local Literature, 2004, [↩]