Ales Skrivan

The Economic Interests of Austria- Hungary in China between 1900-1914

  • Abstract

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At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, China represented an exotic territory that was too far away and largely ignored by the Vienna government. Strongly bound by its activities and objectives primarily in European regions, Austria-Hungary essentially was not looking to make any major changes in the territorial focus of its foreign trade policy. On the other hand, fascination with the size of the Chinese market (together with other factors) forced Vienna to think about the possibilities of expanding business contacts with China. However, these ambitions were not fulfilled. In its own way, the unsuccessful attempts to expand trade with China were only a part of the Habsburg monarchy's generally unsuccessful strategy to expand the territorial diversification of its foreign trade. To some extent, the passivity of the Austro-Hungarian producers and the associated «stagnating» statistical data can be viewed as a «mere» correct and realistic evaluation of the current potential of the Chinese market, the chance to gain a hold in it and the possibility to achieve a profit adequate to the risk associated with this business.

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