As the first book-length work on the history of Chinese presence in Nigeria, this book examines how Chinese migrants and the Nigerian state, workers, traders, and consumers interacted with and influenced one another from the mid twentieth century to the early twenty-first century.

Based on a combination of archival sources and oral history interviews, this book argues that the significant Chinese presence in Nigeria—Chinese-owned factories, commodities, and entrepreneurs—is not as recent a phenomenon as it might appear. As early as the 1950s, an influential yet understudied group of Chinese entrepreneurs moved to Nigeria, set up factories and gradually came to dominate some of the country’s key manufacturing industries such as textile and enamelware over subsequent decades. Such dominance remained unchallenged until the coming of mainland Chinese traders with their made-in-China goods in the late 1990s, dramatically changing the structure and influential pattern of the Chinese in Nigeria. The research also emphasizes African (Nigerian) agency in shaping this Chinese presence, both economically and culturally.

This is a vital read for academics, researchers, and students of African History, African Studies, Chinese Studies, and those who are interested in contemporary issues relating to Africa-China relations.

chapter 1|15 pages


chapter 2|19 pages

From China to Nigeria

Migration of Chinese Industrialists and Nigerian Industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s

chapter 3|22 pages

Prosperity, Crisis, and Identity

The Textile Industry of Nigeria and Chinese Textile Manufacturers in the Post-Independence Era

chapter 4|19 pages

The Good Old Days

Work and Life of Nigerian Textile Workers at Chinese-Owned Textile Factories

chapter 5|28 pages

From Chinese Factories into Everyday Lives

Enamelware in Northern Nigeria 1

chapter 7|25 pages

Between the Nigerian State, Traders, and Consumers

The Rise and Fall of China Town in Lagos 1

chapter 8|4 pages