Chapter

The City of London as a Centre for International Banking: The Asian Dimension in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries<sup>1</sup>

Ranald Michie

in The Origins of International Banking in Asia

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646326
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646326.003.0002
The City of London as a Centre for International Banking: The Asian Dimension in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries1

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This chapter identifies the City of London as occupying a place at the very centre of international banking over the space of two centuries. London’s success is seen to rest on the combination of a highly successful money market cluster and a network that linked it to banks from around the world. Initially, preferential access to this market only allowed British overseas banks to expand successfully overseas from the mid-19th century onwards. However, over time foreign banks were able to access this market and so challenged the early dominance of British banks. As a result London became the payments centre for the world economy, which further enhanced the attractions of its money market for banks from around the world. The diversity of Asia provides an excellent case study for the study of this relationship. Asia contained countries that were tied to Britain through the Empire, notably India, along with countries that had a semi-detached relationship, like China, or were fully independent as with Japan. Though this is important what is also shown to be significant is the way particular banks connected to London, as this had implications long after the era of European empires passed. This calls into question the whole debate on ‘gentlemanly capitalism’ and the Eurocentric perception of imperial history.

Keywords: City of London; financial centres; international banking; Asia

Chapter.  20268 words. 

Subjects: Business History

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