AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 416

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Session 416: Chinese enterprises under the postwar transformation: a comparative study between coastal China, interior China and Taiwan

Organizer: Juanjuan Peng, Georgia Southern University, USA

Chair: Toru Kubo, Independent Scholar, Japan

Discussant: Linda Grove, Sophia University, Japan

On the eve of the Japanese surrender in 1945, different regions in China had already taken very different developmental paths. The wartime influences, which included both the Japanese occupation in East China and the Nationalist wartime policy in West China, were important shaping factors for the economic patterns in these two regions. The subsequent Japanese retreat in 1945 and the Communist takeover in 1949 brought significant changes to the Chinese economy, but the wartime legacy continued to define regional diversity and shaped the ways businesses reacted to the changing political, social and international environments. To better understand how the wartime legacy contributed to the regional divergence of China’s postwar economic transformation, the panel adopts a comparative approach and examines the experiences of three industrial companies during the 1940s and 1950s. Peng’s paper focuses on Yudahua, a Wuhan based textile manufacturer with branches located in a variety of other interior cities, and explores the cultural consequence of the Five-Anti Movement. Kajima’s paper discusses the business strategy of Dazhonghua Rubber Factory in Shanghai and explains how it was shaped by a new political and international environment. Hong’s paper adds a new dimension to the discussion by including Taiwan in the picture, and uses the Taiwan Machinery Manufacturing Corporation as a case to study the Japanese legacy and the American influence in the postwar industrial settings. Together, the three papers shows how coastal China, interior China and Taiwan went through different economic transformations after Japanese forces were withdrawn from China.

Business before and after the Communist Revolution: a case study of the Shanghai Dazhonghua Rubber Factory
Jun Kajima, University of Tokyo, Japan

This paper analyzes the business strategy of an industrial enterprise in Shanghai during the 1940s and 1950s, paying particular attention to how business responded to changes in the political and economic environment. While previous studies on this topic have focused mainly on state-business or labor-management relations, this paper examines the business organization from a new perspective by telling a story of how a specific business environment shaped the strategy and structure of this particular enterprise. Shanghai Dazhonghua [Ta Chung Hua] Rubber Factory was the largest enterprise in the modern Chinese rubber industry, which was one of the well-developed light industries during the Republican era. During the 1920s and 1930s, the increasing demand for rubber shoes, cart tires and automobile tires resulted in Dazhonghua’s rapid expansion of both production capacities and sales networks. Based on this historical background, the paper explores how the post-1949 international relationship, state policy, and market conditions influenced Dazhonghua’s business strategy and activities. Through this exploration, we can identify one type of strategic change in Chinese enterprises during the transitional period of the 1940s and 1950s, which helps us to obtain a better understanding of the structural change caused by the Chinese socialist transformation in 1956.

The Taking Over and Rebuilding of the Machine Industry -The Taiwan Machine Manufacturing Corporation During the 1940’s and 1950’s
Sao Yang Hong, University of Tokyo, Japan

From the Japanese surrender in 1945 and the KMT’s takeover of industrial enterprises previously owned by the colonizers in Taiwan to the reestablishment of mainland China as Taiwan’s biggest trade partner, from the KMT’s retreat to Taiwan in 1949 and a corresponding new foreign trade policy to the post-Korean War US aid, the Taiwan economy went through fundamental changes from 1945 to the early 1950s largely due to changes in the external environment. However, the existing research on this transition period is insufficient to elaborate how industrial enterprises went through the crucial economic transformation. This paper therefore adopts a case study approach and analyzes how the Taiwan Machinery Manufacturing Corporation (TMMC)—the largest enterprise in Taiwan’s postwar machinery industry—experienced this economic and political transformation. The research first explains how the Resource Committee of the National Government took over the Taiwan Iron Works from its Japanese owners and transformed the private business into an important state-owned enterprise, TMMC, during the years immediately following the WWII. And then, it examines the changing international markets of this machine manufacturer from 1945 to 1949 and the American influence accompanied by a substantial amount of financial aid in the 1950s. The analysis focuses on the technological and management aspects of the business and also pays particular attention to differentiate Mainlander employees from their Taiwanese counterparts. Overall, the paper aims to explore how the enterprise adjusted its production and management structure to fit in the new economic environment of the transition period from 1945 to the 1950s.

Yudahua in transformation: the changing corporate culture under the Five-Anti Movement
Juanjuan Peng, Georgia Southern University, USA

In the spring of 1952, Su Xianjie, the factory manager of Yudahua Textile Company’s Guanyuan Mill wrote three letters in a row to his supervisors in the Wuhan headquarters. The letters detailed how he was repeatedly accused of wrongdoings during the Five-Anti Movement and asked the Central Office to clear his name. Surprisingly, as the son of the late board chairman, Su saw the movement as a threat neither from the new Communist government nor from the newly-empowered proletariat workers. Instead, he felt his main enemy was his vice manager, who had worked in the mill ever since it was established and who got very unhappy when the company replaced the old factory manager with this newly returned American-educated young man. “As you know,” Su wrote, “I am in a troubled situation because I have no experience in handling the brutal office politics.” As the story reveals, the five-anti movement—which is often considered a defining moment for the decline of China’s national capitalists and the rise of proletarian power—might be perceived differently by people who were experiencing it. Often coinciding with other preexisting conflicts, the movement transformed not only the management-labor relations but also the corporate culture inside Chinese industrial enterprises. The paper therefore aims to explore this cultural transformation by looking into the experience of Yudahua Textile Company. A particular emphasis will be placed on how different social groups, ranging from top managers to shop-floor workers, played a different role in this movement and how their participation gave the movement a cultural consequence that might not be expected by its designer.