Delta on the Move Lecture Series (May 18): Macabe Keliher - Hong Kong Industry and the Taiwan Developmental State: The Case of Meyer Aluminum, 1970 – 1990

Terrie Ip Discussion

Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Delta on the Move Lecture Series
Hong Kong Industry and the Taiwan Developmental State: The Case of Meyer Aluminum, 1970-1990

Dr. Macabe Keliher
Southern Methodist University

Date/Time: May 18, 2023 (Thurs) 4:00 pm (HKT) / 10:00 am (CEST)
Venue:  Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, HKU
Join us in person at May Hall or via Zoom using the following link:

Postwar Hong Kong experienced some of the fastest economic growth in the developing world. What has received less recognition, however, is that productivity was just as exceptional, outpaced only by Japan. Scholars have focused on the former phenomenon through comparative advantage and low-cost labor but overlooked the latter, thereby conflating growth with development. Drawing on state and firm archival records, this talk examines the period of Hong Kong’s industrial diversification in the 1970s and 1980s and offers an explanation of manufacturing development and efficiency, arguing that Hong Kong firms turned to Taiwan state-owned enterprises to acquire advanced equipment and know-how. The talk looks closely at Meyer Aluminum of Hong Kong and its long-term relationship with Taiwan state-owned industries. By shifting focus from the macro-level to the micro and examining the needs and strategies of firms, the talk challenges understandings of the developmental state and the dichotomy of state versus market. It illustrates how actors responded to different contexts and available opportunities rather than let themselves be guided by state economic designs.

About the Speaker
Macabe Keliher is associate professor of History at Southern Methodist University and author of the award winning book The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China. He is currently working on a multi-part history of China’s political economy from the Ming to the present. This year he is a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Taiwan researching postwar East Asian economic development with a focus on the network of business relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong firms.

This is an event jointly organized by the “Delta on the Move: The Becoming of the Greater Bay Region, 1700 – 2000” Research Cluster and the Chinese Business History Webinar Series.

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