Bringing it all back home? A Chinese bank going global
This thesis examines the role of trust in the global expansion and activities of Chinabank over the past eight, and especially the past two, decades and the associated transformative effects of this emergent geography. Three specific moments of change involving questions of trust are investigated: i) attempts to project the Bank as a legitimate presence in the City of London; ii) the reconciliation of expatriate and local practices of work in the Bank in London; and iii) the transformation of relations of governance within the Bank and between the Bank and its headquarters and the Chinese State in Beijing. The underlying argument of the thesis is that global economic geographies are enabled, in part at least, through social geographies - here social geographies of trust - which are a prerequisite in bridging the differences involved in the processes and relations of globalisation. But, of course, concepts and practices of trust are themselves geographically variable and so globalisation in turn involves negotiations over, and transformations of, trust. Thus the thesis argues that trust is relationally constructed as different conceptualisations and practices of trust interact with, and shape, each other. In this sense, globalisation is a process of hybridisation rather than of flattening. The main contributions of the thesis are i) to explore globalisation from ‘periphery’ to ‘core’; ii) to consider some of the implications of bringing together two very different sets of political economic relations (communist state and market-based capitalist financial relations); and iii) by exploring the nature and significance of trust as a socio-spatial relation, to contribute to the literature on the social conditions of existence (the social geographies) of economic globalisation. In addition, the thesis draws attention to the impact of different orientations/attitudes towards personal trust and regulatory trust in forming financial relations and their complementary role in 3 the making of financial space. Thus the research explores the implications of the working practices of the Bank in London not only for relations between it and its headquarters and the Chinese state in Beijing but for working practices in London in coming to terms with the rapid growth and globalisation of finance in China. Qualitative methods predominate but findings are triangulated across a range of data. Methods employed include semi-structured interviews (within the Bank in London; in its head office and the offices of its supervisory authorities and other state bodies, in Beijing; and with UK clients of the Bank and other leading financial institutions in London); participant observation and textual analyses; and the analysis of published data from a variety of sources.
- Theses