Transnational marriage in Yiwu, China: trade, settlement and mobility

Heila Sha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores intermarriage between Chinese women and foreign Muslim traders in Yiwu, China through a consideration of women’s experience of uncertainty in settlement and decisions regarding migration. In so doing, it argues that intermarriage plays an important role in anchoring trading networks for the traders. However, this anchor is not firm, as such households also face significant uncertainties due to the structural constraints resulting from the unstable nature of informal trade; state migration policies, both internal and border control; and challenges regarding children’s education. Furthermore, migration decision-making processes are equally impacted by personal dimensions of attachment, marriage (in)stability, family orientations and perceived cultural gaps. Women are active agents in negotiating and adapting to new situations but their agency is limited by structural constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2326-2345
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number11
Early online date13 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way


European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 669 132?TRODITIES


  • Trade
  • anchoring
  • migration
  • settlement
  • transnational marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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