Willing Communist Collaborators?: DuPont in China, 1946-1953

Willing Communist Collaborators?: DuPont in China, 1946-1953

History Hangout: Conversation with Juanjuan Peng


The DuPont Company had a presence in China beginning in the 1920s. With a business selling imported dyestuffs, the company operated out of Shanghai until the Japanese takeover of the country. Following the Second World War, the company resumed operations, continuing even while the fighting continued during the Chinese Civil War. With the 1949 ascent of the Chinese Communist Party, what would DuPont and other American businesses do with their Chinese operations? 

Historian Juanjuan Peng, associate professor at Georgia Southern University, used the DuPont Company archive at the Hagley Museum & Library to find out. To her surprise, American businessmen, including those employed by DuPont, were willing collaborators in with the new communist regime, which they hoped would invest heavily in industry. The Chinese entry in to the Korean War, however, and the American sanctions it elicited, forced them to recant and abandon their operations in China.  

Dr. Peng received support from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society at the Hagley Museum & Library. 

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