The VOC's Chinese Tea Trade, 1757-1781
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) reorganized and enlarged its direct trade with China in the second half of the eighteenth century, because of not only the increasingly fierce competition from other European Companies at Canton, but also the increasing demands concerning the quantity and quality of Chinese tea at the Europe market.
Historians have paid attention to the close relationship between the changing market situation of Canton and Europe, and the increasing rivalry in the China trade. They principally rely on the English East India Company (EIC) archives. As the result, the Dutch Chinese tea trade, which in quantitative terms was rivaling with the English Chinese tea trade, has so far been left out of the equation.
Why did the Chinese tea trade of the VOC reorganize the direct trade with China? How did the VOC conduct such more successful trading link? Answers to the questions cannot be given until a detailed case study is carried out. Drawing on the Dutch, English and Chinese source material, this proposed study is to shed new light on the conduct of the VOC's Chinese tea trade in the 'Golden Age' of 1757-1781.
This study will be a contribution to the comprehensive analysis of the Dutch Company's trade with Far East. In addition, research on the history of the VOC and on the local economic history of China will be combined in the one study that seeks to investigate the impact of the Chinese tea trade of the VOC in the Netherlands as well as in China, within a wider perspective of an emerging dynamic world market.
Prof. Dr. J. Leonard Blussé
Prof. ZHUANG, Guotu