Megacities pp 135-150 | Cite as

Global Change, National Development Goals, Urbanisation and International Migration in China: African Migrants in Guangzhou and Foshan

  • Tabea Bork-HüfferEmail author
  • Birte Rafflenbeul
  • Frauke Kraas
  • Zhigang Li
Part of the International Year of Planet Earth book series (IYPE)


The migration of African traders to Guangzhou, located in southeastern China, started in the 1990s and has ever since been increasing. During the last years, the neighbouring city of Foshan has become a second centre of African migration. While a growing number of migrants have been moving from Guangzhou to Foshan, an increased direct migration to Foshan can also be witnessed. The aim of this contribution is to demonstrate how the dynamics and complexity of processes in and between the two cities as well as regional, national and global conditions and developments are influencing this new migration flow. Urban development aims, their interpretation and implementation at various levels are considered, together with the reactions, flexibility and adaption strategies of the migrants. Furthermore, this example highlights how global developments (e.g. global economic crisis 2008/2009, China’s entry to the WTO), national conditions (e.g. national immigration regulations, development strategies, hosting of major international events) and interurban competition and co-operation are interrelated and have diverse impacts on the migration flows. The analysis is based on a quantitative survey of 253 African migrants, four expert interviews and 14 qualitative interviews with African migrants.


China International migration Urbanisation Global change 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tabea Bork-Hüffer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Birte Rafflenbeul
    • 2
  • Frauke Kraas
    • 3
  • Zhigang Li
    • 4
  1. 1.Asia Research InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeographyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  4. 4.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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