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  • Author: Lola Wilhelm, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: The demand for infant formula in Australia is insatiable. Bare shelves have led supermarkets and chemists to ration sales, limiting the quantity customers can buy in a single transaction. But it’s not Australian parents fuelling the formula shortages. A high proportion, between fifty and ninety percent, of all Australian infant formula is exported to China. The situation has created tensions between the two countries. Australian shoppers complain of Chinese daigou (personal shoppers) buying formula before it is even stacked on shelves and stripping supermarkets in teams of people. In April 2019, eight people were arrested in Australia for stealing over a million dollars of infant formula in Sydney to sell in China. Two months later, Chinese military personnel were photographed loading boxes of formula onto a Chinese warship before departing Sydney Harbour.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Vivid Lam, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Pingyao (平遥) is a remote place for a tourist attraction. Located in the centre of Shanxi province, it is some 380 miles from Beijing and further from Shanghai or Hong Kong where the tourists tend to congregate. Yet, despite the isolation, come they do to Pingyao. The nearest airport to Pingyao is in Tiayuan, over one hundred kilometres away, so most visitors arrive by coach or by train; along the poorly paved streets and past the decaying houses until they arrive in the middle of the city. Here the tourists disembark from their coaches and their trains and find themselves transported to the days of the Qing dynasty emperors, surrounded by imperial architecture. The tourists wander slowly towards West Street. This is the home of the most popular attraction: the headquarters of Ri Sheng Chang (日昇), a late Qing company which revolutionised Chinese banking, now a museum and an increasingly busy tourist attraction. This is the story of how it came to be and how the little city in a small province in China rose to prominence, became the financial centre of the world’s largest economy, fell to obscurity and, now, rises again.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia