Cao, January 30, 2011, December 10, 2011 Dai, February 9, 2011 Fang, February 5, 2011, December 8, 2011 Gan February 17, 2011

Hong January 30, 2011, February 10, 2011, February 15, 2011, December 10, 2011 Li December 16, 2011 Lian December 20, 2011 Lu January 30, 2011, December 7, 2011

Luo February 4, 2011

Shen February 4, 2011, December 10, 2011, December 13, 2011, December 19, 2011

Tang January 27, 2011, February 5, 2011, December 9, 2011, December 11, 2011


  • 1. In this chapter the term “migration” refers to movements of people between places in general and does not imply factual or intended permanent spatial relocation.
  • 2. Unless otherwise stated, all information provided in this chapter is based on participant observation and statements shared by the great majority of informants. Information that cannot be regarded as representative of the whole sample is attributed to individual informants; names are fictitious in order to safeguard interviewees’ anonymity. This data collection was part of two larger research projects on Chinese-African interactions in Ghana, Senegal and China, starting in 2011 and finishing by mid-2017. The research project, Entrepreneurial Chinese Migrants and Petty African Entrepreneurs: Local Impacts of Interaction in Urban West Africa (2011-2013), was conducted in close collaboration with my colleagues, Laurence Marfaing and Alena Thiel. The project West African Traders as Translators between Chinese and African Urban Modernities (2013-2017) was conducted with Laurence Marfaing, Alena Thiel, Kelly Si Miao Liang and Jessica Wilczak. Both projects were generously funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Priority Program Adaptation and Creativity in Africa—Technologies and Significations in the Production of Order and Disorder.
  • 3. It has to be emphasized that the Ghanaian authorities only record flow data (entry/exit statistics); no stock data are recorded. Although information gathered during fieldwork suggests that there are substantial numbers of undocumented Chinese operating in a legal gray zone (mostly visa overstayers who entered the country on tourist visas), publicized estimates often serve political purposes and tend to be inflated.
  • 4. Particularly entrepreneurs from Fujian tended to incorporate friends and trustworthy partners into their kinship networks, establishing virtual kinship ties with persons without family relations. This practice seems to be particularly advantageous if family enterprises aim to expand and diversify their scope but lack specific expertise and/or capital.
  • 5. Referring to Chinese migrants across Europe, Christiansen (2013: 149) suggests the existence of world-spanning communities based on “Fellow-townsman relationships, virtual kinship, fledging solidarity of those sharing similar conditions or speaking the same dialect or at least Mandarin, and a moral grid of shared purpose, altruism, sacrifice, and co-ethnic compassion.” In view of the fact that the Chinese migrants whom Christiansen referred to mostly originated from Zhejiang Province (or Fujian Province in some cases), and regarding the high degree of intraethnic fragmentation and competition where other Chinese groups are present, it remains rather doubtful that this claimed community has ever extended beyond family and virtual kinship networks.
  • 6. South Africa, it has to be noted, is an exception. This country has one of the longest continuous interactions with China on the African continent and the Chinese, and it has one of the oldest, most layered and complex presence of people of Chinese origin and descent within the continent (cf. Park 2009).
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