Imported commodity city: A new model for the development of China's emigration hometowns?

  • Martina Bofulin ZRC SAZU
Keywords: China, emigration, hometowns of overseas Chinese, qiaoxiang, cosmopolitanism


The present article contributes to the research on emigration from the People’s Republic of China and the relations between emigrated Chinese and their hometowns. Focusing on the investment project Emigration Hometown Qingtian’s Imported Commodity City highlights the intersection between the Chinese consumers’ patterns and the local indigenous emigration practices that produce a particular model of local development predicated on the mobility of people and objects. As this development aims to transform the “emigration town” from an exporter of labour to a regional tourism centre offering visitors a cosmopolitan and internationalised experience of “Europe in China”, the in-depth analysis of policy documents, participant observation, and expert interviews reveals that this is a precarious model for which changed global and national conditions can strongly jeopardise its viability and success.