World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0014525220
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cohong  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Canton System, Hong (business), Ewo (hong), Economic history of China, Shewan, Tomes & Co.
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Traditional Chinese 公行
Simplified Chinese 公行
Literal meaning "public profession"

The Cohong, sometimes spelled kehang or gonghang, was a guild of Chinese merchants or hongs who operated the import-export monopoly in Canton (now Guangzhou) during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). During the century prior to the First Opium War of 1839, trade relations between China and Europe were exclusively conducted via the Cohong, which was formalised by imperial edict in 1760 by the Qianlong Emperor. The Chinese merchants who made up the Cohong were referred to as hangshang (行商) and their foreign counterparts yanghang (洋行, literally "ocean traders").[1]

Foundation and structure

According to John Phipps, author of the 19th century Practical Treatise on the China and Eastern Trade, the merchant Ponkequathe (潘启官) founded the guild in the 1790s, although Chinese historian Immanuel C.Y. Hsu cites an earlier date of 1720.[2]

Nominally a guild of thirteen merchants operating from "factories" located on the banks of the Pearl River outside Canton, over time membership of the Cohong fluctuated between five and 26 merchants[5] authorized by the Chinese Central Government to handle trade, particularly rights to trade tea and silk, with the West.[1] They were the only group at the time authorized to do this, making them the main controllers of all foreign trade in the nation.

Consoo Fund

The Cohong further functioned as controller of the Consoo Fund (公所, gōngsuǒ), actually the name of the office of the Cohong in Thirteen Factory Street), a pool of money raised by levies (公所费, gōngsuǒfèi) on the trades of individual merchants to cover the debts of any bankrupt hong at year end and to pay the various exactions demanded by the government. Officially, the rate levied for the fund was 3% of the value of goods. This tax originally applied only to tea but by the late eighteenth century had expanded to cover 69 different products.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Entry on Cohong in the Encyclopædia Britannica".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Liang Jiabin (梁嘉彬) (1999). Survey of the Thirteen Factories (廣東十三行考) (in Chinese). Guangdong People's Publishing (广东人民出版社). 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Liao, Hsien-chuan. "The Canton Hong System and Commercial Development in Ching Dynasty: a Study (論清代行商制度與貿易發展的關係)" (in Chinese).  
  6. ^ Phipps, John (1836). A Practical Treatise on the China and Eastern Trade. London: Wm. H. Allen. p. 151. 
  7. ^ Van Dyke, Paul A. (2011). Merchants of Canton and Macao: Politics and Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Chinese Trade. Hong Kong University Press. p. 29.  

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.