China's diaspora played an integral part in that country's growth.

In 1995, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade published a 350-page report on overseas Chinese business networks, calling them ‘one of the main forces driving the dynamic growth that characterises the region’. This interest reflected the economic clout of the then 50-odd million diaspora Chinese — living mostly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia. In the early 1990s, this diaspora was described as rivalling Japan as a business influence across Asia, with a collective wealth comparable to China’s GDP.