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TitleShanghai industries in the Civil War period (1945-1947)
AuthorChristian Henriot
Date9 January 2014
Keywordswar ; city ; urban ; industry ; bombing ; WMS ; ANR

The revised and edited version of this paper was published in the Journal of Urban History (DOI: 10.1177/0096144214566977). It is currently available at OnlineFirst service by SAGE Journals (restrcted access until actual publication).


This article examines the fate of Shanghai industries during the Civil War period in China. It argues that in spite of extreme difficulties in the later part of the war, Shanghai industries bounced back very quickly and reached early wartime levels within a year. Thereafter, a series of economic and political restrictions led to a slowdown, then a paralysis. The article is based on a large and unique survey of Shanghai industries published in October 1947, probably the peak of the economic recovery after the war. The data were processed in geographic information systems that the author implemented to examine what industry represented in the urban space, what its impact was, and how it defined the city of Shanghai. The author contends that issues of security more than economic factors determined the particular industrial geography in the city.



This paper is the second installment of a two-part study of Shanghai industries in times of turmoil. The first part dealt with Shanghai industries in the 1936-1940 period. In that study, I took 1936 as a point of reference to examine the transformation of the industrial structure under the impact of war. It was based on a two-pronged approach: one focused on a statistical analysis of the data, one focused on the spatial dynamics of that transformation.1 My present examination of the 1946-47 industries will focus on the Civil War period, another phase of acute turmoil, yet with a comparative perspective informed by the previous study.

The 1946-47 period represents a turning point in the post-war period. During the preceding two years, the competition between the two major political and military contenders – the Nationalist government and the CCP – had been brewing until it turned into an outright military struggle to take over the country. In March 1947, the Nationalist army even took over Yan’an, the wartime capital of the CCP. This victory buoyed the Nationalists’ military fortune. Yet, the highly symbolic victory proved short-lived. After the summer, the Nationalist cause began to sputter. Communist armies began to score victories in North China. Then from December 1947 to March 1948, Lin Biao's armies won a series of major battles in Manchuria. On the economic front, the situation worsened quickly. The serious wartime inflation deepened, making it difficult for the modern sector of the economy, especially industry, to take off again. Our “snapshot” of Shanghai industries in June 1947, therefore, provides a unique and valuable picture of the strengths and weaknesses of this sector in times of increasing instability and turmoil.

Shanghai industries came out of the war badly shaken. This was not due to military warfare as the Japanese defeat came without fighting with the surrender to the Allied Powers after the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities. After November 1937, Shanghai did not experience war again, except for a few American air raids on the industrial Yangshupu area in 1944-45. Despite the curfew imposed on the population and measures to blind all lights at night, there was no major damage to the city and its industries. The demise of Shanghai industries was caused by two major non-military factors. The first one was the ban imposed by the Allied Powers on trade in all goods with Japan and its occupied areas after Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The blockade severely hampered Shanghai as the local industries relied heavily on imports of primary materials and on external market as an outlet for their products. The second factor was the system of control economy (tongzhi jingji 統治經濟) the Wang Jingwei Government put in place in 1943 in a botched attempt to salvage the economy from crumbling further. The various state monopolies it actually created made the situation worsen. Inefficiency, corruption, and the continued plundering of resources by the Japanese Army in Central China stifled the sole alternative the domestic market could have offered to Shanghai industries.2 Finally, the liberal use of the printing machines to create money by the Wang Jingwei government set an inflationary trend that proved fatal for industrial production.3 In June 1945, when victory was in sight, but not yet achieved, an editorial of the Chinese Bankers’ Weekly (Yinhang zhoubao 銀行週報) warned that this was the most serious crisis which trade and industry faced in the near future.4 This assessment proved to be right, although industry and trade encountered a host of other problems.

When victory was proclaimed in August 1945, relief was palpable in Shanghai. Despite the gloomy economic and social situation, people celebrated the end of the eight-year long conflict and its attendant sequel of misery and anxieties. For a while there was a genuine festive atmosphere beyond the official ceremonies. People were proud that China had prevailed over Japan and “Victory” and the “V” sign soon became the most popular buzzword and new advertising catchword. People looked forward to a better future. Industrialists too could only feel relief at the end of the war and the elimination of the various stumbling blocks that had crippled their activity. The system of control economy was gone along with its genitor. More importantly, the ban on foreign trade was cancelled and China was again part of the world economy. In view of the war legacy, they could expect postwar recovery to be an uphill march. Yet they probably did not imagine the walk would be so steep and that eventually they would stumble and roll down the hill at an even faster pace.

Shanghai industries had come a long way. By all accounts, and with very few exceptions, factories had sunk to near shut down after 1944.5 Among the few sectors that escaped full paralysis, like paper manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical industries or leather processing, production remained well below the prewar level.6 This can be gauged from electrical consumption, at a historical low until the end of the war (40% of prewar level in 1943 against a peak of 105 per cent in 1940).7 Textile mills, the backbone of Shanghai industry and the largest employer, were running at 10-15 per cent of their capacities.8 As a result, all related sectors like machine manufacturing, metal industries, dyeing, etc. also plunged to heretofore-unseen levels of inactivity. Many stopped altogether.9 Basically, manufacturers maintained a minimum level of production to prevent their machines from decaying in idleness and to retain on site a core group of technicians and workers to kick off production when the situation allowed.10 The city was not deprived of industries – there were an estimated 4,154 factories and probably five times more workshops. All that was missing were the conditions for a new departure in a more predictable environment.

Shanghai industries actually bounced back quickly as they seized all the opportunities to serve a domestic market in need of many goods after years of shortages of all kinds, but also foreign markets, especially in Southeast Asia, where foreign competition had not yet returned.11 In early 1946, the Bankers’ Weekly reported the reopening of factories in most industrial sectors. The 44 factories seized by the Japanese Army were returned to their owners to operate. All the cotton filatures were up and running.12 Another sign of industrial vibrancy in the city was the first Industrial Products Exhibition (Shanghai gongyepin zhanlanui 上海工業品展覽會) that showcased local manufacturers held in March 1946, hardly nine months after the end of the war.13 The Shenbao devoted a special section to the exhibition for several days. The purpose was both to show the technological level of local industries and emphasize the importance of technicians in economic development.14 People came from all over China, with a total attendance of about 100,000.15 Industry was definitely again at the heart of development plans for China.

There were difficulties, however, like the persisting disruption in domestic transportation or the persisting inflationary trend. On 22 April 1946, the Shenbao titled its editorial with a call in favor of Chinese industries. It highlighted four issues: unstable political situation, inflation, speculation, and workers’ indiscipline. The newspaper warned that if the government failed to solve these issues, factories would again close down.16 Another more local pressing issue, adequate power supply, slowed down industrial recovery. The power plants had not been able to renew or maintain their equipment properly. The Japanese had also caused some damage in an ill-designed attempt to transform the local machinery. In October 1946, the city produced 130,000 kW, with two thirds going to industry (42,000 kW to textile), while consumption peaked at 150,000 kW twice a day.17 Throughout 1946, there was insufficient power supply, although new machines were expected to boost production. In 1947, power supply still failed to catch up with industrial needs.18 To help manufacturers, the municipal government designed a system of quotas that curtailed individual consumption and limited the commercial use of electricity. Shanghai was known for its extravagant signs and billboards. Industrial concerns received most of the conserved energy, although this fell short of actual needs.19 The main issue was the lack of coal supply due to the emerging conflict in North China. Industrialists called for imports from Indochina.

In the first year and a half after the Japanese defeat, the local industries still made a solid recovery, with the creation of a large number of new plants. As primary materials were still lacking due to issues of transportation – increasingly this was linked to the military conflict between the CCP and the National Government – manufacturers relied again on imports, especially the textile industry. Cotton bales came in large quantities from the United States, Brazil, and India to feed the cotton-starved local mills. Several other sectors also drew their supplies from abroad to make up for local scarcity. While imports had a positive impact on industrial production, it also constituted a drain on China’s reserves. In 1946, cotton imports alone represented one half of all foreign imports. For the National government in need of foreign currency to pay for badly needed equipment to modernize the economy or support the fabi, to see its reserves diverted to the purchase of a commodity which China could produce in abundance despite the setback of the war period, was not a sustainable prospect. Yet peasants had shifted away from growing cotton bringing the national total to five million dan in 1945. The following years, output stood at 7.4 million and 10 million respectively, but it was still well below the prewar level of 12 million dan.20

By 1947, the National government started introducing restrictive measures on access to external markets and to curb industrial reliance on imports. On the one hand, due to postwar confiscations of enemy properties, the government controlled directly a large chunk of the textile industry, which it could influence at will. On the other hand, through its financial arm the Central Bank, the government had exclusive control over foreign exchange. In January 1947, the government instituted a system of quotas for each industrial sector that defined the amount of money available for purchases abroad for a term.21 The amount was revised periodically with a strong competition between economic actors.22 While this scheme may have helped stabilize the drain on foreign exchange, the quota system constituted a return to strong government control of the economy, as under Wang Jingwei. It fell short of an outright “controlled economy” (tongzhi jingji), but if we add the establishment of various committees such as for the collection of raw cotton and its distribution among factories, the trend was unmistakable. Chinese manufacturers again depended more on bureaucratic whim than market demands.23 Repressive measures like the control of stocks, intended against hoarding and speculation, further compounded the difficulties of manufacturers.24

The most negative factor, however, was not so much this type of well-intended system of regulation than the inability of the government to curb inflation. The strong inflation carried over from the war period started to climb at an alarmingly high rate during 1946, yet with an eight-fold increase, but it picked up speed soon again.25 The increasing cost of primary materials represented a heavy weight on the competitiveness of Shanghai industries. Rising inflation also meant higher salaries for workers, especially after they were pegged to the system of price indexes introduced by the government. There were repeated strike movements throughout the industry to demand higher wages when workers felt the index did not reflect their actual condition or when the government once tried to suspend the index.26 By mid-1947, inflation spiraled off while the military fortune of the National Government initiated its descent. As the war against the communist armies overrode all other concerns, the government printed increasing amounts of money to pay for its expenses, feeding further the devaluation of the Chinese currency. Eventually, hyperinflation set in and just killed all investment and production. The economy turned to barter and hoarding. By 1948, some manufacturers started to remove their operation to the south, to the safety of Canton or Hong Kong.27

After 1949, while the new regime strove to restore the economy, especially industrial production, it also definitely moved away from the market-driven system that had characterized Shanghai in the republican era. The nationalization of the means of production and circuits of distribution were the beginning of a broad structural transformation of Shanghai industries.


Sources and methods

My examination of the state of industries in the Shanghai urban space relies on a particular source that I processed with GIS, like the industrial surveys of the Shanghai Municipal Council of the 1930s-1940s in my previous study. In the following section, I discuss first the nature of my main source, and then I explain the approach adopted to make the data speak to us.

This study is based on a unique source: Shanghai zhizao changshang gailan 上海製造廠商概覽 (A Compendium of Shanghai Manufacturing Firms) (Shanghai 上海 : Lianhe zhengxinsuo 聯合徵信所, 1947). There are only minimal indications about the purpose and initiators of this survey. Yet these indications point to a solid background in conducting such large-scale surveys. The introduction is signed by the “survey team” (調查組) of the Union Credit Agency (聯合征信所), a semi-official agency established in March 1945 by a group of financial institutions.28 The UCA actually produced numerous economic surveys such as the massive Shanghai jingrongye gailan (上海金融業概覽, 1947) in the same period or Tuchan jieshao (土產介紹, 1951) as late as 1951.29 There were very few such examples of extensive survey of industrial concerns in Shanghai. The Shanghai Chamber of Commerce published its own directory, Shanghai guohuo changshang minglu (上海國貨廠商名錄), also titled Shanghai Manufacturers Directory, in 1946.30 I identified another edition (1947) at the Shanghai Library and on the Internet, but for the latter the “1948-49” label seems to have been pasted onto the front matter of the volume. Another volume with a very similar title was published in 1934, but there seems to be no connection between the different publications.31 At this stage, I dismissed these publications because they focused solely on Chinese industries and overlooked the numerous and significant foreign industrial concerns in the city. Furthermore, a preliminary check showed that the number of surveyed factories was substantially lower than the more than 10,000 companies in the 1947 Shanghai zhizao changshang gailan.

The Shanghai zhizao changshang gailan was prepared over the first half of 1947. It was completed in June of the same year. It went to press almost without delay as the preface is dated October 1947. In other words, the survey presents photography of Shanghai industries almost exactly two years after the Japanese defeat and the return of the Guomindang to Shanghai. The data collected in this survey is based on the records of the professional organizations (同業公會) in each industrial sector. It also includes foreign firms, even if they were not members of the Chinese professional organizations. The information was collected either through written questionnaires or by direct visits to the companies. When information was not received, the survey team gathered data by indirect means. Despite its shortcomings, as discussed below, the Shanghai zhizao changshang gailan is an extremely valuable source. It probably reflects the closest we shall ever be able to get to the extent of Shanghai industries in the late 1940s. The number of surveyed companies falls somewhere between an ideal but impossible registration all factories and workshops and an exhaustive but restrictive survey of all factories according to the definition of the 1934 Factory Law. In other words, while the survey does not include all workshops, it goes way beyond the mere record of only the factories. To highlight this dimension further, in February-June 1937 Shanghai hosted 5,525 factories and 28,651 workshops. Only 31 percent of the factories and 19 percent of the workshops were located in the foreign settlements. At the end of war in 1945, there were 4,154 factories. The number of workshops is unknown.32

Using this particular source raises several methodological issues. The first is definitely the incompleteness of information: there is a lack of consistent data on all aspects of the factories. The ambition was indeed very broad as it covered all companies present or represented in Shanghai and its surrounding districts. Yet even for the factories located intra muros the ratio of incompleteness ranges from 40 percent (capital) to 62 percent (workforce). As incomplete data do not affect all factories in the same way, when comparing various parameters, the actual number of comparable data drops sharply (e.g. 2,800 for capital, workforce, and industrial sector). Even with these limitations, each sub-sample offers a solid basis with the sole caveat that we do not know exactly what we are missing. We can of course assume that missing data was more frequent about the smaller workshops. Yet we cannot fully rule out that data is missing for a few large companies. There are also inconsistencies, as we shall discuss later, for instance companies with hundreds or thousands of workers and a capital merely equal to that of a workshop.

With a view to locate factories in the urban space, another major difficulty lied in the labeling of street names in the survey. Street names were provided exclusively in Chinese, but they referred to various “name periods”: current name, older Chinese name, older Western name in Chinese characters, fully obsolete names. Obviously, having gone through two successive waves of name change (1943 and 1945), factory owners put whatever came to their mind first, either out of habit or simply because they were not “up to date”. The mix is extremely confounding, especially with the added difficulty that various major streets were divided into two (East, West) or three (North, Central, South) different segments after 1945. In other words, even when using the 1946 commercial atlas as our base map, it was necessary to return to older maps to locate factories at the street number level. To compound difficulties further, the actual location of thousands of factories was not given as street number but under the name of a particular lilong. More than 2,500 factories listed their address in this way. A few even just gave the name of the lilong. In the absence of a historical georeferenced database of Shanghai lilong, there was no other choice than going through the maps and locating the factories manually.

In this paper, I processed as many factories as possible until a few weeks ago. I still have a backlog of 3,500 factories awaiting further scrutiny. It is sometimes delicate to find a location in the foreign settlements, but when it comes to the Chinese-administered districts (in 1947, of course, they were all under a single Chinese administration) the lack of adequate maps is a real pain. Whereas we can find a detailed map for the former walled city in the 1946 commercial atlas and areas bordering the former foreign settlements, for most other areas (Nanshi outside the former walled city, Zhabei, Pudong), we have no maps that carry both the street names and street numbers for these areas, or even maps that would show lilong, particular features, etc. It is a serious methodological stumbling block that will persist as long as map repositories like the Shanghai Library or the City Archives will continue to sit obstinately and uselessly on their map collections to the expense of scholarly research.

As indicated above, I plan to compare the situation in 1947 with that in the pre-war and wartime periods. This comparison, however, can only be made for the factories located in the International Settlement. It was the only place where the authorities carried out an annual survey of all factories starting in 1931. For the 1931-1936 period, this survey clearly missed all the factories located in the Chinese municipality. It may be possible in the future to use the data of the 1934 Shanghai guohuo gongchang diaochalu, but this source came too late in my hands to be able to process it. For the 1938-1940 period, due to the destruction of most factories in Zhabei and the move of many Chinese factories into the International Settlement, the population of factories in that territory tended to offer a very representative sample of Shanghai industries. After 1940, there is a complete lack of similar surveys. Only general statistics – number of factories, size of industrial workforce – are available. Another frustrating element is the difference in the data: the IS surveys provided the nationality of the factories, but not the Chinese survey; conversely, the Chinese survey provided the amount of capital and the year of establishment, which was missing in the IS surveys. Our potential points of comparison, therefore, are limited to the workforce, industrial sector, and location.

In 1947 the survey covered not only Shanghai proper, but the surrounding rural districts, and even companies represented in Shanghai, even if the factories were located elsewhere, sometimes in remote provinces. I removed a total of 310 factories located outside of the city proper, mostly in the rural counties around Shanghai (Jiading, Jiashan, Minhang, etc.). At the end of this elimination process, there remained a total of 9,443 industrial companies in the survey. The usable data in the survey cover a rich range: address, industrial sector, year of establishment, capital, workforce, name of owner. The table below highlights the number of factories for which data were available in each category:


Street name 9,443

Street number 6,813*

Street lilong 2,443

Year 3,796

Workforce 3,066

Capital 5,694


* (Including 39 cases with only the lilong name)


Shanghai industries in 1947: A portrait

In this section, I discuss in more details a few variables that define the state of Shanghai industries two years after the Japanese defeat. The survey provides rich data about the time of establishment of factories. Altogether some 3,796 companies indicated the year they went into production. The table below provides a summary of this industrial chronology. Of course, this does not represent all the factories that opened during each period as many disappeared over time. Yet, even if we take into account the process of attrition resulting from economic crisis, individual bankruptcy, and above all military conflicts, there is hardly any doubt that the pace of factory opening went up sharply after 1927. In other words, the expansion of industries in Shanghai followed a pattern by which after a slow growth between the mid-19th century and the 1911 revolution, the number of factories increased more steadily in the early republican period, including during W.W.I, while the real explosion took place after the establishment of the nationalist government in 1927.

In a previous study of pre-war and wartime industries, we established that there were around 1,200-1,300 factories in the sole International settlement in 1935-1936. This number dropped to slightly over 800 after the military conflict of 1937. Yet Shanghai industries resumed their growth during the war with close to 1,900 factories in the International Settlement alone in 1940.33 By that time, however, the settlement concentrated most of the factories in the city. In view of the ratio of turnover I have observed during the 1930s, including the extensive damages resulting from war, there is little chance that the rate of turnover in the W.W.I period or the decades thereafter could exceed that of the 1930s. In other words, even with a high attrition rate, the number of factories that emerged during and after W.W.I clearly represented the beginning of a process that never stopped, even with civil disorders and military conflict in the city. If the nationalist era represented the end of the golden age of the bourgeoisie as a political actor, it was definitely not the end of its role and influence as an economic actor.34 Industry continued to flourish against all odds and remained firmly in private hands. The role of the state was negligible.


Table 1. Year of foundation of Shanghai factories in 1947







































Table 1 shows that a large share of factories had a long history, with 10 percent in existence before 1927, including 119 plants (3.1 per cent) established during W.W.I and 228 (6.0 per cent) in the “years of crisis” that followed. Those dating back to the imperial period represented a paltry 39 factories (2 per cent). Yet this could be expected in view of the initial small number, risky ventures, and inevitable commercial failures. The three major sectors that emerged during this early period were construction industry, printing, and textile, representing 62 percent of all surviving factories.

Table 1 also shows that there was a constant and formidable thrust for the establishment of factories. I have divided the chronology into several sub-periods that take into account major events (such as the Sino-Japanese war), but also what appears to be genuine threshold in terms of factory creation. This approach may be debatable as it is based on the state of surviving factories as of 1947. Logically, the number of more recent factories should surpass those of factories created in the previous decades. As the sub-periods are uneven in terms of duration, I calculated a ratio per year that highlights the unwavering and increasing trend in factory creation throughout the whole period. These figures provide a mere indication, as we know that the actual number of factory creation in a single year was much higher. For example, between 1925 and 1936, there were 458 new factories, between 1938 and 1939, 919 factories, and between 1939 and 1940, 370 new factories. It is striking to note that in the immediate post-war years an average 431 new factories were established, although 1946 marked a peak (725) followed by a clear slowdown (136).

If this sample is representative of the evolution of all industrial sectors, the development pattern was quite similar for all of them up to 1927, with a fairly steady growth. Some sectors like the construction industry, machine manufacturing, electric equipment, and printing “peaked” during the Nanjing decade. All the other sectors experienced a continued progression in numbers, with the war period marking a peak in terms of new factories. In the immediate post-war period, the number of new openings simply plunged. The textile industry represents a more specific case due to the sheer number of factories (45 per cent of all factories). The pattern in textile was unmistakably similar to the sectors that thrived through the Nanjing decade and the wartime period. In spite of a high level of new openings, the textile industry remained below its wartime trend.

Most factories were owned or managed by a single individual, even if he was the representative of a larger group. This analysis is based solely on the name listed as owner or manager for factories. There exists the possibility of two individual bearing the same name, even if they were not related. Yet these cases could only be marginal. Conversely, one can also observe patterns of ownership by individuals who were probably brothers, although here again this cannot be established with absolute proof. There were only 22 cases for which two or three (1) names were provided as co-owners or managers. Out of a total of 9,443 factories, 8049 came under a one-man ownership or management. Shanghai’s industrial structure was clearly made up of a myriad of individual factories and workshops. The degree of concentration was very limited, even if naming the manager rather than the owner induced a certain bias, as actual investors did not appear. After 1945, the Japanese textile mills were nationalized and came under state ownership. Yet each factory appeared under a different manager name.

Cases of multiple ownership/management were pretty rare beyond owning two factories. Whereas 405 industrialists owned or managed two factories, only 75 ran three, 23 ran four and 18 ran five or more. The most exceptional case was that of Rong Hongyuan (荣鸿元). Rong was listed as the owner of 11 factories, most of them in the textile industry, in which he employed more than 18,000 workers. Rong was actually the main representative of the Rong family’s industrial empire, including the famous Shenxin Cotton Mills.35Du Yuesheng (杜月笙), the infamous head of the Green gang, came second. He owned a mix of old and more recent factories (10) in textile, printing, paper, rubber, and food. Other exceptional cases include Li Fucai (李傅才), head of the Jinglunsheng group in woolen textiles (9 factories), Jin Zongcheng (金宗城), owner of a diversified group of nine factories (textile, chemical, metallurgy, electric, machine manufacturing), Fang Jiyang (方季扬), heir to a major merchant and banker family, who operated 8 factories, mostly in cosmetics and soap, and Cai Shengpai (蔡声白), head of the Meiya group of textile mills (8). Nevertheless, the number of factories was just one indicator of the importance of individual managers. In terms of employment, the largest employer was Guo Yue (郭乐), manager of the Wing On textile mills, with 39,880 workers. Altogether, the Rong family employed 21,220 workers. Du Yuesheng and Cai Shengbai were next, but there was a group of owners of large plants like Tong Runfu (童润夫, 3 factories, 8000), Yang Xiren (杨锡仁,3 factories, 6417), Zhou Yichun (周诒春, 3 factories, 6000), Bao Guochang (鲍国昌, 6 factories, 5284) or Fu Liangjun (傅良骏, 2 factories, 5000).

The city’s recorded industrial workforce in 1947 stood at 335,018 workers. This represented the whole industrial population throughout the Shanghai municipality. Since the survey is incomplete, the actual figure must have been higher. Only 3,069 factories – about one third – provided a figure for their workforce. Nevertheless, the probability of small factories failing to answer the survey or being missed by the surveyors allows for speculating about a missing workforce of 60,000 (6,000 x average 10/factory). There are of course various figures for the industrial workforce, but they vary, depending on the criteria adopted to define it. The Shanghai municipal police between 1931 and 1940 made the most accurate assessment. Yet it covered only the industrial workforce in the International Settlement. Moreover, it took into account only the factories with at least 10 workers. In the latest known survey in 1940 when the International Settlement had become host to a very high number of industrial concerns, the industrial workforce stood at 226,657. Based on the same criteria, the 1946 workforce represented 331,342 workers, a « gain » of 104,685. Yet, as neither the French Concession, nor the Chinese municipality was included in the 1940 survey, this may just represent their share of the workforce.

Yet if we compare this with the size of the industrial in the last years of the war, there can be no doubt about the fantastic progress and recovery after 1945. In the latter part of the war, the rising cost of energy and the curtailment of the production of electricity became a severe impediment to the operation of industrial plants. The authorities of the two foreign settlements had imposed heavy tax surcharges and introduced consumption quotas.36 After Pearl Harbor, the real issue was about the brutal decline in coal supply, which in turn caused the production of energy to drop sharply37. By 1942, the general level of production of electricity was half that of 193638. In December 1943, energy quotas were further diminished. At this level, Chinese factories could only use 5,5% of their productive capacity39. In mid-1943, there were 1,617 plants in operation. On average, industrial firms had lost 58% of their workers40. In February 1944, there were 4,607 enterprises employing more than 10 workers in the city. Of these 4,607 enterprises, however, only 2,910 (63%) were in operation. The strongest sectors -- machine (1399) and textile (841) industries -- employed altogether 87,041 workers (24,752 in textile and 15179 in mechanical industries)41.

If we are to judge solely by the number of factories, the increase in both the number of factories (2,910/4,607) and workforce (87,041) between 1944 and 1946 was amazing. Yet the 1944 survey did not include a few significant sectors. Nevertheless, the progression in the textile industry, from 24,752 to 209,950 revealed a formidable come back of Shanghai industries to the early wartime level. In other words, in the immediate postwar period, Shanghai industries recovered promptly and started again to churn out much needed industrial goods, with textile clearly moving ahead of all other sectors. The workforce was very unevenly distributed among the various industrial branches. Textile dominated evidently with 30.7 percent of the factories, but 62.5 per cent of the workforce, a level quite similar to pre-war and wartime industry. The next most significant sectors came far behind in terms of workforce: Tobacco (6.9%), rubber and plastic (4.9%), food (4.1%), chemical industry (3.4%), and printing (3.3%). A very dynamic sector, metallurgy, represented one fifth of all factories (21.8%), yet with a small share of the workforce (3.1%). This pointed clearly to a particularly diffused mode of production. Shanghai remained definitely a textile production center, despite the wide variety of industrial activities behind its industrial walls.

Shanghai industry in 1947 remained as before made up of a host of small-scale factories and workshops (Table 2). Depending on whether most small factories simply did not respond, this could of course alter very much our view. Yet, it would only emphasize more the share of small-scale factories with little impact on the overall picture of industrial workforce. The workforce was distributed between two major poles. One third of the factories had less than 10 workers and another third had less than 50 workers. Yet altogether they represented only 9,2% of the total workforce. At the other end of the spectrum, the largest factories with more than 1,000 workers represented 2,0% of all factories, but 43,3% of the industrial workforce. In other words, the top 27 factories weighted almost as much as the bottom 1,052 workshops. In between, a quarter of the plants employed about 47% of the workers.


Table 2. Size of the workforce in Shanghai factories











































A total of 5,699 factories provided figures about their level of capitalization. A few indicated their initial capital at the time of their foundation, but most provided the current figure. Due to the rampant inflation, these figures looked very impressive. To facilitate the reading, I converted all figures into US dollars based on the rate given in Chang Kia-ngau’s classic study of Chinese inflation. I applied the market rate of 36,826 CNC/US$.42

The total value of known industrial capital in Shanghai amounted to $29.5 million ($29,534,730). Since 4,249 factories failed to report their capital, we may be missing a substantial chunk of actual value. Based on the average value ($5,187) of the 5,694 known factories, the missing value might amount to almost $20 million ($19,903,379). Yet, we should also consider that most of the underreporting was the fact of the small-scale factories. The factories in the first two lower levels of capital under $100 and $100-$499 represented respectively 35.4% and 37.1% of all factories, but they owned only 1.2% of industrial capital (Table 3). At the other end of the spectrum, the 39 factories with capital above $100,000 represented only 0.4% of all factories, but they owned 62% of all industrial capital. The most capitalized top 79 factories owned between themselves 71% of all industrial capital. This high degree of concentration not only had many implications in economic terms, a major consideration was definitely their location within the city as their represented the most valued industrial assets in Shanghai. It also meant much of industrial policy by the national government was geared toward this group of “heavy weights”, including several nationalized companies.


Table 3. Number of factories, workforce, and capital value of Shanghai industries


Capital cat.




















Capital cat.






















The inequality in capital value and number of factories, however, did not reflect in the same way in the share of the workforce. The factories in the top value ranges employed only 42.7% of the workers. There was of course a correlation between the size of the workforce and the level of capitalization. As the graph below indicates, the larger the workforce, the higher the capital. Nevertheless, this was not a perfect distribution. The data cover 2,813 factories for which we know both capital and workforce. One can find aberrant cases of very small companies with a high level of capitalization. Conversely, a few large-scale companies show low levels of capitalization. This may be due to the fact that some companies provided the amount of capital at the time of their foundation.


Graph 1. Distribution of workforce size by capital value



The level of capitalization among the different industrial sectors varied also very much. Textile industries came ahead of all other sectors with close to three quarters of industrial capital. It was the traditional sector on which Shanghai had thrived in the past and continued to prosper after W.W. II. War failed to fundamentally alter the industrial structure of the city. Chemical and food industries came next, which represented a significant inflection as neither sector was in a leading position before and during the war, especially chemical industries. Chinese industrialists stepped in to substitute for previously imported products.43


Table 4. Distribution of capital by industrial sector


Industrial sector




Aver. Value


$22 513 406



$12 377

Chemical industry

$1 460 810



$7 415

Food industry

$1 310 533



$8 679

Rubber & plastic products

$619 689



$7 042

Non-metal mineral products

$562 618



$5 922

Paper processing

$555 866



$2 647


$527 005



$2 151


$519 918




Tobacco processing

$496 377



$6 800

Machinery manufacturing

$435 492



$2 233

Pharmaceutical industry

$416 852



$4 847

Electric equipment

$340 646



$1 822

Construction industry

$151 373




Leather & Shoe

$58 247




Coal & Mineral Processing

$36 625



$1 465


The average value of factories is consistent with the total value in each sector. In the textile industry, the very large number of factories does not challenge the leading position of the sector, even if there was an undeniable bias resulting from the very high level of capitalization of the very large companies. The 1,547 factories with less than $2,500 of capital had an average value comprised between $40 and $1,341. Two thirds had levels equivalent to factories in electric equipment or in construction. There was therefore a considerable imbalance between sectors and within sectors among individual factories at the level of capitalization.


Graph 2. Structure of capital by sector and capital value



With little surprise, textile still appeared as the leading sector of Shanghai industries. My figures are incomplete since the survey provided workforce data for only 3,066 factories. In the table below, I ordered the data by size of the workforce. Factories are listed in two separate columns, one for the total number of factories, one for those that came with data on their workforce. With 62.5% of all workers, textile ranked first, even if the sector was made up of a huge number of plants (3,905). The next most important sector was metallurgy with 1,261 plants, yet with a very small share of the workforce. This indicates that most were small workshops with only one or a few workers.


Table X. Distribution of factories and workforce by industrial sector (1947)





Total number of factories

Industrial branch







Chemical industry







Coal & Mineral Processing







Construction industry







Education & sports good







Electric equipment







Food industry







Leather & Shoe







Machinery manufacturing














Nonmetal mineral products







Other industries







Paper processing







Pharmaceutical industry














Rubber & plastic products














Timber processing







Tobacco processing







Transportation equipment







Metal products















If we compare with the situation of industries in the International Settlement in 1940, some significant changes took place. Of course, the comparison is not perfect. First, the 1947 survey covered the whole Shanghai municipality, not just one area. Yet during the war, a very large number of factories had moved into the International Settlement, which by and large hosted the highest concentration of factories in Shanghai, especially in the major industrial sectors. Second, the 1940 surveys included sectors not listed in the 1947 survey. I withdrew these sectors and kept only those that matched the sectors listed in the 1947 survey. We can observe that the share of textile dropped from the 67.6% of the workforce in 1940. While tobacco ranked about the same, both the rubber & plastic (1.1% in 1940) and food industries (3.2% in 1940) made a serious headway in terms of workforce. The sector that lost much was metal products, from 5.0% in 1940 to 3.1% in 1947 despite the formidable increase from 329 to 1,261 plants.


Shanghai industries in the urban space

What does GIS add to our understanding of the place and impact of industries in the urban space and, one might add, “eco-system” in Shanghai? We can examine these issues from various angles, but our examination will depend on how much data we have on other aspects of urban life and how far these data can match our industrial data. At stake are issues of temporality (series do not overlap), space (series cover disconnected areas), data construction (series linked/unlined to spatial entities), etc. In the section below, I propose a spatial reading of industries that aims first at defining what kind of a city Shanghai was in the late 1940s.

My first observation is that Shanghai was a city of production that hosted most of its factories and workshops in the city proper, even if some particular areas received the largest concerns. Nevertheless, if we take the racecourse as the point of reference for “downtown”, one can see that most industries were located within a short range from this point. This is not trivial if we think in terms of various factors in the operation of factories:

  • transportation: primary materials, finished products, exchange between factories

  • modes of transportation: human labor, trucks

  • channels of transportation: Soochow Creek, Huangpu River, canals & creeks

It is also significant in terms of several aspects of urban life: environmental impact (noise, fumes, waste water, etc.), human traffic (on foot, bicycles, public transportation), housing (of workers, of neighboring residents), real estate value (pull/push effect). On most of these, however, we may speculate, but there is little actual data we can rely on at this stage.

At first glance, factories and workshops could be found everywhere in the late 1940s. Map 1 shows a “T” shape distribution with the horizontal bar spread along the line formed by the Soochow Creek and the upper East-West section of the Huangpu River. The vertical bar of the “T” is a fairly thick trunk west of the lower North-South section of the Huangpu River. The sheer distribution, however, tends to mask inequalities in spatial distribution. By introducing a grid that averages the number of factories on the same basis, we obtain a map that highlights much more the highest densities of plants (Map 2). We can see a thick ribbon along Soochow Creek and a less obvious pattern in the southern part of the city. Yet what it also shows is the substantial presence of industrial establishments in the core areas of the city.

All factories were not equal as I discussed above. Capital endowment varied greatly. Map 3 provides a general view of the distribution of industrial capital in the city. There was a striking imbalance between the few “heavy weights” concentrated in very few places and the majority of small plants and workshops. A grid-based map (Map 4) makes this more explicit, although it tends to tone down a bit the discrepancy. In fact, if we take the two extremes of capital value, the factories with less than $100 of capital actually formed the “T” shape discussed above (Map 5). These factories were almost everywhere. Conversely, if we take the factories with the largest capital (Map 6), the “jewels” of Shanghai’ industries were located in two main areas, the middle section of Yangshupu along the Huangpu River and the western districts (with a much higher number). Yet capital remains an abstract indicator. It does say something about wealth invested in the factories, hence in the areas where they were located. To get closer to work, production, and urban life, however, we need to look at the people who worked in these establishments.

The size of the workforce (Map 7) provides a parallel, though not entirely symmetrical perspective to capital. Factories and workers were present throughout the city. The two main concentrations discussed above remain very obvious, with the addition of a ribbon of large plants on an East-West axis in the southern part of the city. The grid-based map makes this pattern more visible (Map 8). If we retain only the largest factories above 1,000 workers, we find again our three main “industrial nexus” (Map 9). What actually lays behind this particular distribution is the domineering role of one sector, the textile industry, and within this sector, as we shall see below, the large cotton mills (Map 10). By and large, the large-scale factories all belonged to the cotton industry (Map 11). Although the silk industry included a few fair sized establishments, it represented a minor contribution compared to cotton mills (Map 12). The silk industry never fully recovered from the mid-1930s crisis and the postwar difficulties in getting supply.

This distribution reflected a long-established pattern resulting from a combination of objective factors like the proximity of rivers for certain types of industrial production, especially textile (see below) and the enforcement of more or less restrictive regulations on the location of factories, as in the former French Concession. Our data can be used to compare the situation in the former International Settlement in 1940, probably almost the peak year in wartime, and in 1947. For the silk industry, the situation was almost stationary. There was no noticeable change despite the issue of comparable data (Map 13-1 and Map 13-2). For different reasons that mostly have to do with the scale of cotton mills, change was limited in the cotton industry, even if a few companies disappeared and new ones opened. Yet without effectively tracing the companies by name, we should not overinterpret these results (Map 14-1 and Map 14-2). Again, it may reflect the lack of data (location, but no data on workforce).

By 1947, these regulations no longer applied. Factory owners established their plants much more freely in the city than before, especially those that required smaller premises. This would explain the presence of a large number of small-size factories in the core urban areas, despite the higher cost of real estate. Some sectors that developed in the postwar period seem to exhibit such a pattern, like food industry (Map 15), printing (Map 16), or machinery (Map 17). It would appear that for such smaller establishments, the issue of transportation costs or facilities overrode the consideration of rent for their premises. We may assume that this was a factor for plants that served the needs of other factories in machinery, repairs, metal parts, etc. There is no way at this stage to ascribe a “linkage factor” to the pattern of spatial distribution or to weigh the respective share of different factors (real estate, transportation, etc.). We can observe that related sectors like metal and machinery (Map 18), machinery and textile (Map 19) or paper and printing (Map 20) formed highly visible clusters. Another development was the multiplication of factories in the western periphery of the city – the contested Huxi area – during the war. Although we cannot assign clearly these developments to the wartime period or to the postwar period, one cannot miss the substantial colonizing of urban space by industrial establishments almost everywhere, except in the former western residential areas that received a much lesser number (Map 21).

The general perspective I have presented on Shanghai industries certainly does not do justice to their multifaceted impact on the city. Factories are physical premises in which workers transform primary materials or semi-finished products. Beyond their occupation of a more or less extensive piece of land and their direct influence on their surroundings (Image) (land, air, water), factories represent constant flows of goods and people coming in and out of the premises (Image). While workers usually came over roads, the transportation of goods was carried out on both land and water. Factories were also places of social tensions that could lead to work slow down and outright strikes that would spill over the streets. There would be a challenge for the authorities to contain such labor movements. How much of this can we apprehend through GIS?

The distribution of industrial concerns created a specific network of “industrial streets” that received the flow of workers on their way to and from work (Map 22). On their way, they may patronize cheap roadside peddlers and restaurants. Although many lived on low income, it did not fully exclude the presence of ancillary services geared toward these low-income workers. The movement of goods also induced an activity on the roads as a large part of local transportation was carried out on handcarts, wheelbarrows, or pedicabs. This was human labor, hence another layer of workers in the streets. The waterways, not just the two main rivers, but also the network of canals that still pervaded the Shanghai urban space, were also a privileged mode of transportation to carry goods in and out of the plants (Map 23). The proximity to rivers was a major factor in the location of textile factories both because of their needs for transportation, but also for water to clean, process or dye the textile fibers (Image - Image).

The distribution of factories determined also a particular pattern of housing for the working classes. Although some large plants provided dormitories to their workers, this was usually limited to single workingwomen or men.44 Those who had families had to find accommodation by themselves, usually in the immediate vicinity of factories (Image). During most of the republican period, very little effort was made to construct affordable housing for factory workers, not to mention the even poorer coolies, rickshaw pullers and other less privileged groups. The result of this discrepancy – a growing industrial workforce and the lack of scheme for cheap housing – during a period of massive influx of population (especially after 1946) was the growth of huge hutments (棚戶區). We do not have as yet a reliable survey of hutments in postwar Shanghai. We only have a survey made sometime around 1950 that reflects the situation that prevailed in the late 1940s.45 It is possible to overlay this survey map on our own data, albeit approximately, but there is an unmistakable parallel between the distribution of industrial establishments and hutments (Map 23). Although there were other populations in the hutments than simply workers, the development of hutments after W.W.I and through the 1930s was clearly linked to the rise of industry in the city. The military conflict in 1937 caused a redistribution of factories that had a direct impact on the relocation of hutments in the city.46 We cannot establish the same process for lack of data, but it is safe to assume that workers played a major role in the location of hutments in postwar Shanghai.

The last perspective I would like to point to here is the potential use of this industrial survey to process in GIS the instances of labor movement that erupted in Shanghai during the civil war. Strikes and other protest movements broke out in many factories, especially in the larger establishments. There is a good record of such movements in the press and in police reports, with details about location, date, duration, number of workers involved, results, police action, spill over, etc., which may be related to other factors such as price indexes and inflation.47 Somehow, we could pursue a study of labor unrest in a most troubled period in relation with the location, nature and size of industrial plants.


Concluding remarks

By mid-1947, when the survey I used in this study was completed, Shanghai industries and more generally the whole economic system were on the verge of quickly sliding down to a frenzy state of disruption and collapse. In this context, industrialists had little alternative, but to resort to protective tactics – which official labeled as “hoarding” – and make use of their capital in ventures that veered away from investment and production – which again was labeled as “speculation”. Whether one should consider this as profit seeking, even greed, or rational economic behavior, industrialists had no control on the whirlpool that was dragging them down. They had demonstrated their capacity to bounce back right after the end of the war and to push up industrial production to new heights, with the emergence of hundreds of new companies. Yet the process was not sustainable under the conditions of high, then hyperinflation. On the opposite, hyperinflation killed the momentum.

From a spatial perspective, our study relies on data “frozen in time”. This is a photograph that clearly establishes that industry had colonized the urban space, even taking account the relative distance that kept one of the two major concentrations, Yangshupu, at bay, away from the core urban districts. Yet it remains that the second concentration in the western part of the city was located within a perimeter that was urban in nature. This is indeed the city intra muros. How much of this development can be attributed to the Sino-Japanese war period and how much to the short postwar period under study (1945-1947) is impossible to determine for lack of data for the earlier period, except for the International Settlement. Yet even for this area, we do not have a survey that would show the distribution of industries in early 1945. Administrative instability and the defective enforcement of regulations must have played a role, but industrialists do not select the location of their premises solely on the basis of regulatory factors. Cost considerations and business opportunities need to be factored in. This is something that we are not able to do at this stage.

From our spatial reading, we may hypothesize “linkage effect” as an explanatory factor for the distribution of some factories, due to their mutual needs. Size and nature of production also played a role as dependent variables that would definitely push large plants with a need for a large track of land and smooth communications away from the central districts. For many small workshops, however, these considerations were (much) less decisive. On the opposite, distance and costs of transportation probably offset the higher rent of premises in more central locations. The nest step in this direction will be to match industrial land occupation with land value data. This may give a better sense of the rent factor in industrial location. We may also integrate the level of technology and skills, which varied greatly, and consequently the level of salary. Higher wages meant the possibility for workers to find accommodation in the city, whereas low-skilled workers ended up in hutments at the periphery.

As can be deducted from the paragraphs above and comments throughout the paper, historians remain highly dependent on the nature of their sources, which translates into how they can avail themselves of the potential of GIS. The discontinuities in series, the lack of adequate cartographic materials, the painfully slow process in locating items that run into the thousands is definitely a daunting problem. At each step, one stumbles upon a “missing link”, leaving one with hardly more possibility than to hypothesize or speculate. Nevertheless, GIS also has a higher value as a repository of data in which strata of data accumulate once and for all. It also means that H-GID can only mean “long-term” project. A couple of layers will not do the trick beyond providing a preliminary sense of “where is what”. To figure out whether there is a deeper embedded pattern, to dig out clues about the significance of a given spatial distribution, and to assess how much weight we should give to “space” in our historical interpretation is another serious challenge. The use of a large amount of data as in this paper, which borders on the “quantitative” side of both history and GIS is not guarantee that this will lead to path-breaking discoveries. At the same time, it does establish our knowledge – in this case industries in the city – on a much more solid footing than mere statistics or more impressionistic data from newspapers and official reports. With all the limitations I mentioned above, GIS allow us to place industries in the city and link it to a good array of factors (workforce, nationality, etc.) that will definitely shed a brighter light on our knowledge of Shanghai’s industrial past.


1 Christian Henriot, “The Impact of War on Shanghai’s Industrial Structure: A GIS-based Analysis of the Shanghai Industrial Surveys (1935–1940),” Annals of GIS 18, no. 1 (2012): 45–55; Henriot Christian, “Regeneration and Mobility: The Spatial Dynamics of Industries in Wartime Shanghai,” Journal of Historical Geography 38, no. 2 (2012): 167–180.

2 Christian Henriot, “Shanghai industries under Japanese occupation: Bombs, boom, and bust (1937-1945),” in In the shadow of the rising sun : Shanghai under Japanese occupation, ed. Christian Henriot and Wen-Hsin Yeh (New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 17–45. On Japanese in Central China, Meizhen 黄美真 Huang, Ri wei dui Huazhong lunxian qu jingji de lüeduo yu tongzhi 日伪对华中沦陷区经济的掠夺与统治 (Beijing Shi: She hui ke xue wen xian chu ban she, 2005). In February 1945, the Bankers’ Weekly (Yinhang zhoubao)had made a somber assessment of the system of controlled economy. Tang Xinyi 湯心儀, “Yi nian lai zhi wuzi tongzhi” 一年來之物資統治, Yinhang zhoubao (YHZB) 銀行週報, Vol. 29, no. 5-8 1/2/1945, 6-10 [full collection of the Yinhang zhoubao available on line at Dacheng lao qikan shujuku 大成老期刊数据库]。

3 Sheng Zhaosan 盛炤三, “Minyuan lai shanghai zhi wujia zhishu” 民元來上海之物價指數, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 19. Rampant inflation reached catatrophic levels in 1943 (500 percent), 1944 (800 percent), and the first six months of 1945 (2400 percent).

4 Tang Xinyi 湯心儀, “Dangqian gongshangye zhi weiji” 當前工商業之危機,Vol. 29 -, no. 21-24 (1/6/1945), 6-9

5 “Diaocha: kangzhan qian hou zhi shanghai gongye tongji” 調查:抗戰前後之上海工業統計, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 5-6 (1/2/1946), 16-17

6 Xiao Guanyao 蕭觀耀, “Yi nian lai de shanghai gongshang qiye” 一年來的上海工商企業, YHZB, Vol. 29, no. 9-12 (1/3/1945), 5-11

7 After 1943, the publication of electrical consumption figures were prohibited. Tian Heqing 田和卿, “Shanghai zhi zhanshi gongye” 上海之戰時工業, Vol. 31, no. 6-7 (17/2/1947), 21

8 Xiao Guanyao 蕭觀耀, “Yi nian lai de shanghai gongshang qiye” 一年來的上海工商企業, YHZB, Vol. 29, no. 9-12 (1/3/1945), 10

9 “Diaocha: kangzhan qian hou zhi shanghai gongye tongji” 調查:抗戰前後之上海工業統計, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 5-6 (1/2/1946), 16

10 Tian Heqing 田和卿, “Shengli qian hou zhi shanghai gongshangye” 勝利前後之上海工商業, Vol. 30, no. 7-8 (16/2/1946), 5-7

11 One author claimed China had only three years to get ready for Japanese and Indian competition in the cotton industry. Feng Shuyuan 馮叔淵, “Minyuan lai wo guo zhi mianfang zhigong” 民元來我國之棉紡織工業, YHZB, Vol. 31, no. 4-5 (3/2/1947), 21.

12 Tian Heqing 田和卿, “Shengli qian hou zhi shanghai gongshangye” 勝利前後之上海工商業 Vol. 30, no. 7-8 (16/2/1946), 5-7

13 SB, 27/3/1946, 6

14 SB, 29/3/1946, 6

15 SB, 30/3/1946, 6

16 SB, “Zai wei zhongguo gongye huyu!” 再為中國工業呼籲

17 SB, 23/10/1946, 5

18 SB, 24/6/1947, 4

19 “Shanghai jieyue yongdian banfa” 上海節約用電辦法, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 38 (22/9/1947), 30.

20 Feng Shuyuan 馮叔淵, “Minyuan lai wo guo zhi mianfang zhigong” 民元來我國之棉紡織工業, YHZB, Vol. 31, no. 4-5 (3/2/1947), 20; Wang Zijia 王子嘉, “Yi nian lai wo guo zhi mianye” 一年來我國之棉業, YHZB, Vol. 32, no. 7-8 (23/2/1948), 22-26

21 Hong Zhangli 洪丈里, “Yi nian lai zhi wo guo zhi gongye” 一年來我國之工業, YHZB, Vol. 32, no. 4 (26/1/1948), 9-19

22 “Yuanliao xian’e fenpeiquan gongyejie zhengde yi ban” 原料限額分配權工業界掙得一半, YHZB, Vol. 31, no. 35 (1/9/1947), 61.

23 Tao Yueqin, 陶樂勤, “Shanghai gongye de zhenxian dongyao le” 上海工業的陣線動搖了,YHZB, Vol. 32, no. 30 (26/7/1948), 17-18

24 SB, 17/12/1948, 2

25 Sheng Zhaosan 盛炤三, “Minyuan lai shanghai zhi wujia zhishu” 民元來上海之物價指數, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 17

26 Alain Roux, “Le Guomindang et les ouvriers de Shanghai (1938-1948): la déchirure,” Le Mouvement Social, no. 173 (1995): 69–95.

27 “Gongye taobi de zai cuowu” 工業陶部的再錯誤, YHZB, Vol. 32, no. 3 (20 17/5/1948)

28 The history of credit agencies in China can be traced back to the early 1930s. Shanghai was the seat of five foreign-run credit agencies agency run by five foreign investors. On 6 June 1932, Zhang Naiqi, a Chinese banker, started the China Credit Agency with the support from a number of Chinese-funded financial institutions. It was the first Chinese agency fully devoted to economic information. The fate of Chinese credit agencies, however, suffered from the subsequent Japanese invasion. In the later part of the war, in March 1945, a number of government-run financial institutions formally established the Union Credit Agency in Chongqing. After the Japanse surrender, the agency moved its headquarters to Shanghai, and gradually set up branch offices in Hankou, Nanjing, Pingjin, Peking, Nanchang, Shenyang. Zhang Shiqing, 張世卿, "Zhongguo qiye zhengxinye de fazhang lishi" 中國企業征信業的發張歷史、現狀和趨勢, Caijingjie 财经界, 10 (2005).

29 On the Union Credit Agency and a similar body established earlier, see Zhuang Zhiling 庄志龄, “Zhongguo di yi jia guanban zhengxin jigou lianhe zhengxinsuo de xingshuai” 中國第一家官辦征信機構聯合征信所的興衰, Minguo dang’an 民國檔案 (Republican Archives),, no. 2 (2005), 80-86 ; “Zhongguo zhengxinsuo ji qi xinyong diaocha” 中國征信所及其信用調查, Dang’an yu shixue 檔案與史學 (Archives and history), no. 6 (2003), 44-50

30 Shanghai guohuo changshang minglu 上海國貨廠商名錄 The Shanghai manufacturers’ directory (Shanghai: Shanghai shi shanghui 上海市商會, 1946).

31 Liu Tiesun 劉鐵孫, Wang Jiadong 王家棟, and Liu Dajun 劉大鈞, Shanghai guohuo gongchang diaochalu 上海國貨工廠調查錄 (Shanghai: Zhongguo jingji tongji yanjiusuo, 1934).

32 “Diaocha: Kangzhan qian hou zhi Shanghai gongye tongji” 調查:抗戰前後之上海工業統計, YHZB, Vol. 30, no. 5-6 1/2/1946, 16

33 Christian, “Regeneration and Mobility.”

34 See the classic study by Marie-Claire Bergère, The golden age of the Chinese bourgeoisie, 1911-1937 (Cambridge [England]; New York; Paris: Cambridge University Press ; Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 1989).

35 On Rong Hongyuan 荣鸿元 (1906-1990), the Rong family and the Shenxin Group, see Parks M Coble, “Chinese Capitalists in Wartime Shanghai, 1937-1945: A Case Study of the Rong Family Enterprises,” in In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Shanghai Under Japanese Occupation, ed. Christian Henriot and Wen-hsin Yeh (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 46–65; Parks M. Coble, Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi, 1937-1945 (University of California Press, 2003), chap. 6.

36 Bulletin d’informations économiques, 13 March 1939, p. 1. Weekly economic report, 7 September 1940, Consular trade report; «Shanghai business barometer (February 1941), 31 March 1941, Consular trade report ; Bulletin mensuel, February 1941, p. 71, September 1941, p. 61 and p. 72.

37 The city used to rely on domestic coal imported from North China and to a lesser extent from nearby Anhui province. After the Japanese seizure of the northern provinces, Shanghai had to turn to imports from India, Borneo and Indochina, a venue which disappeared almost completely after summer 1941. The share of imports increased tremendously, from 137,505 tons in 1937 to 789,207 in 1938, 950,075 in 1939, 1,366,482 in 1940, and 1,497,363 by November 1941. Rationing measures could not make up for the deficit in supply. Wu Chunxi, «Shanghai gongshang dongtai zhi» (Notes on the trends of Shanghai trade and industry), Zhongguo jingji, vol. 2, n° 2, 1944, p. 23 ; «Shanghai meijin xiaofei shichang zhi fenxi» (An analysis of the coal consumption market in Shanghai), Zhongguo gongye yuekan (China industrial monthly), vol. 1, n° 6, 1943, p. 29-36.

38 Pan, Yangrao, «Shanghai gongye fuxing wenti» (Shanghai’s industrial problems), Zhongguo gongye yuekan, vol. 1, n° 2, 1943, pp. 3-4.

39 Wu, Chunxi, «Shanghai gongshang dongtai zhi» (Notes on the trends of Shanghai trade and industry), Zhongguo jingji, vol. 2, n° 2, 1944, p. 19.

40 In the two settlements, the authorities initiated an ambitious plan for the repatriation of the population to the countryside. Besides employment considerations, there was a real concern for the increasing share of destitute population in the city. Food was in short supply and prices were pushed to a level that excluded large sectors of the population. Despite these forceful efforts, the repatriation movement seems to have had a limited success. On the SMC’s action, see Mulu « Shanghai gonggong zujie gongbuju weishengchu 15 (1), files 998-1007, « Jiuji weiyuanhui, 1941-1942 » ; for a public view, see Shanghai Times, 9, 14, 15, 17, 21, 28, 29 January 1942, 5,11, 17, 18, 26 February 1942

41 Wang Yizong, «Zengchan nian zhong de gongye jianchan qingkuang», p. 1.

42 Chang Kia-ngau, The inflationary spiral. The experience in China, 1939-1950 (Cambridge, Mass.: The Technology Press of the M.I.T., 1958), p. 383

43 Tian Heqing 田和卿, “Shanghai zhi zhanshi gongye” 上海之戰時工業, Vol. 31, no. 6-7 (17/2/1947), 23

44 Emily Honig, Sisters and strangers : women in the Shanghai cotton mills, 1919-1949 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1986).

45 Zou Yiren 邹依仁, Jiu Shanghai renkou bianqian de yanjiu 旧上海人口变迁的研究 (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1980). [acces to full text]

46 Christian Henriot, “Slums, Squats or Hutments? Constructing and Deconstructing an In-between Space in Modern Shanghai (1926-1965),” Frontiers of History 7, no. 2 (2012): 499–528.

47 Alain Roux, “Le Guomindang et les ouvriers de Shanghai (1938-1948): la déchirure,” Le Mouvement Social, no. 173 (October 1, 1995): 69–95; Alain Roux, Le Shanghai ouvrier des années trente : coolies, gangsters et syndicalistes (Paris: Editions L’Harmattan, 1993).

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