Keqiao, a municipal district of eastern Zhejiang Province, is not only a global trading frontier, but also a ‘Little India’ in China. Its wholesale market accounts for one-third annual turnover of China-made fabrics – the semi-finished textiles that are industrially weaved, knitted, dyed, and printed in bulk before being exported. In the local market, about 5,000 Indians have established intermediary businesses, brokering trade deals for their overseas buyers. Drawing on long-term anthropological fieldwork (2011-2012; 2016-2017), Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk will explore the everyday business experience of these Indians in Keqiao. It unpacks the economic niche that they have created, as well as the global trading networks that have sustained this niche in the local Chinese market. In so doing, the talk seeks to bring attention to the significance of this group of Indians in the global fabric trade.

We invite Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS) to discuss.

Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk
Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), where he is part of an interdisciplinary Europe-China research consortium, ‘Immigration and the Transformation of Chinese Society’ (2015–2018). He completed his DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University, where he was also affiliated with the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ka-Kin received his B.SSc and MPhil in Anthropology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Having worked on Indian diaspora in East Asia for the last decade, his most recent publications include ‘Everyday Diplomacy among Indian Traders in a Chinese Fabric Market’ (2016) in Cambridge Anthropology 34(2): 42-58 and ‘Sikhs in China, including Hong Kong’ (forthcoming in 2017) in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Sikhism.

Singapore – Little India’ in China: Indian traders in a Chinese Fabric Market with Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk [Saturday, December 17]
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