Drawing upon a wide range of archival sources in various parts of China, this study will trace the transformation of Chaoshan from 1842 (the end of the first Opium War) to 1949 (the eve of the Communist Revolution). Through an analysis of merchants, enterprises, and the policies pursued by various governmental regimes, I explore the social and economic consequences for a locality like Chaoshan of forging tighter links with the global economy. This project on Chaoshan represents the first comprehensive study of the region's economy and society from the late Qing dynasty through the Republican era, and its findings will address important issues across several fields. It will advance our understanding of the impact of the post-Opium War order on Southeast China's development by illustrating both the benefits and costs of greater exposure to the vicissitudes of global capitalism. In addition, by detailing Chaoshan's changing relationships with its hinterlands and forelands, as well as the evolution of business organization and practices, this study will contribute to ongoing debates in the fields of economic geography and business history. Finally, I will employ conceptual and technical tools from the emerging field of historical GIS (geographic information systems) to combine qualitative and quantitative information to better map the development of Chaoshan's space-economy and its relationship to other regions.