First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb)
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Sze Chai Ming

Kunshan becoming a “Little Taipei”: Is it happening?

Sze Chai Ming
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese

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     Last modified: May 16, 2007
     Presentation date: 06/12/2007 4:30 PM in ISCTE-II C103
     (View Schedule)

The global flow of capital to the developing world is renowned in the new era. Foreign investment is critical to growth of Chinese cities, e.g. boosting foreign trade and diversifying the built environment. At the same time, the foreign investors residing in the city would transform the cultural environment. This paper would conduct a case study of Kunshan, a county-level city in the Jiangsu Province as it houses one of the largest investment flows from Taiwan. The Taiwanese, with their higher level of development and longer exposure to the world economy, is considered as a dominant agent in the growth of the city. Thus, the city is nicknamed “Little Taipei” by some people. This nickname has two implications: (i) Kunshan becomes a “colony” of the Taiwanese, and (ii) the local culture may be modified with the increasing interaction with the new actor in the city. This paper will examine the validity or the degree of these two implications through analyzing the food culture in Kunshan. The findings of this paper would shed light on the cultural impact of the FDI inflow and the local-outsider interaction.

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