Western wind meets eastern soil: Road to industrialization in China (1874–1927)

Chong XU, Qing PEI, Veronica Kayan WONG, Chenxian GU, David D. ZHANG

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4 Citations (Scopus)


China's industrialization after the 1840s has been mainly regarded as a reaction to external shocks from Western countries. However, Rostow's stages of growth theory states that industrialization should be achieved by adequate groundwork of agrarian economy. In this context, this study aims to quantitatively analyze China's industrialization from 1874 to 1927 by comparing the external influences of foreign factors (including trade and finance) and the internal agrarian economy. Statistical results empirically supports China's industrialization should be treated as a self-strengthening movement in response to the negative impact of foreign factors and weak basis of agrarian economy. The empirical findings could further supplement the current knowledge on the development of China's industrialization and the case of such industrialization must be analyzed in the context of colonized economy from a macro-scale in time and space. Furthermore, current findings could also show the limitation of Rostow's stages of growth theory as applied to a colonized society. Copyright © 2018 Hong Kong Geographical Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-175
JournalAsian Geographer
Issue number2
Early online dateAug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Xu, C., Pei, Q., Wong, V. K., Gu, C., & Zhang, D. D. (2018). Western wind meets eastern soil: Road to industrialization in China (1874–1927). Asian Geographer, 35(2), 161-175. doi: 10.1080/10225706.2018.1504806


  • Industrialization
  • Foreign influences
  • Agrarian economy
  • Colonized society
  • Early modern China


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