Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (4): 649-665.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201604009

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Making, development and transformation of South Korean Enclave in China: A case study ofWangjing, Beijing

ZHOUWenting, LIU Yungang, JEON Jiyoung   

  1. School of Geography and Planning, Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation,SUN Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275, China
  • Received:2015-07-13 Published:2020-05-22
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571130, No.41271165, No.41130747;The MOE Layout Foundation of Humanities and Social Sciences, No.12YJAGJW007]

Abstract: Against the context of high-speed economic growth in China, the number of South Koreans who have expatriated to China soared over the last decade. This increase has made China the third largest destination for South Korean Transmigrants (SKTs) among all nations, following only USA and Japan. In particular, Beijing has become the most popular destination among the Chinese cities, with 74025 SKTs in 2013. As such, this study sheds light on Wangjing, Beijing, which is taken as a case to examine the making, development and transformation of South Korean enclaves in China. Wangjing, the largest South Korean enclave in China, has attracted widespread attention from scholars of China and South Korea. Based on first-hand data gathered from onsite surveys and interviews conducted in December 2014 and March 2015, we found that Wangjing began to expand northward from Huajiadi to Wangjing Xiyuan in 1998 and expanded further when Wangjing Xiyuan was created in 2003. Since many Korean students and their families lived in Huajiadi before 2003, the making of this enclave is an ongoing process. The SKTs of various backgrounds have clustered in Wangjing Xiyuan since 2003 and include not only students but also overseas businessmen, self-employed people and locally hired people. The economy within the enclave has emerged and developed along with the expansion of the Wangjing territory. Businesses within the enclave are mainly coowned and co- operated by SKTs and people who are Korean- Chinese and are dominated by daily services provided to each other. Compared to the enclaves of other foreigners in China, Wangjing is marked by the participation of Korean-Chinese people. Moreover, because they are living in the same community with ordinary local residents, it may be possible to integrate SKTs into the local society. However, most SKTs still remain segregated from Korean-Chinese or other Chinese people. The current status of the Wangjing South Korean enclave creates challenges for urban management as well as for furthering the role of Beijing as a model international megalopolis in China.

Key words: ethnic enclave, ethnic economy, segregation, South Korean Transmigrants, Wangjing, Beijing