China and the United States: Business, Technology, and Networks, 1914-1941

Wu Lin-Chun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper studies the activities of American enterprises, technology, and related business organizations and engineering groups in China from the outbreak of World War i to the Pacific War and explains how these activities helped establish connections between China and the world. It borrows the concept of "networks"from Professor Sherman Cochran's extraordinary book titled Encountering Chinese Networks, but broadens the scope of the term to include activity at the level of management and competition, as well as placing Sino-American relations in transnational perspective. Using a multi-archival approach to examine China's major attempts at internationalization, this article focuses on the cases of the American Asiatic Association, the American Chamber of Commerce of China, and the Association of Chinese and American Engineers to show how these networks played important roles in the development of Chinese-American relations. It also discusses the issues of standardization, "scientific management,"and professionalism of entrepreneurs and engineers in influencing network making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-141
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of American-East Asian Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • American business in China
  • American relationships
  • China and the United States
  • China's internationalization
  • Chinese
  • Modern China and the world
  • the American Asiatic Association
  • the Association of Chinese and American Engineers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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