French Kwang-Chow-Wan and British Hong Kong: Politics and Shipping, 1890s–1920s

  • Bert Becker
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


In 1898, France leased and occupied Kwang-chow-wan (Guangzhouwan), a territory in southern China between Haiphong, the major port in northern Vietnam, and British Hong Kong. Designed and developed to rival Hong Kong but administratively part of French Indochina, the territory lost its importance after France changed her East Asian policies in the wake of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. It cut back the subsidized postal-steamer service that connected Indochina with Hong Kong and other ports in the region. The line had been intended to increase Kwang-chow-wan’s economic and strategic importance and was operated by private enterprises such as the Tonkin Shipping Company (run by the shipping company Marty et d’Abbadie in Haiphong) and the French East Asiatic Company. Mainly operated for French prestige, the service reflected the strong economic dependence of Kwang-chow-wan on Hong Kong and the territory’s repositioning from a rival to a satellite of the British colony.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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