Thirteen Factories of the Qing Dynasty
Thirteen Factories of Canton(广州十三行) was an area of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province where the first foreign trade was allowed in the 18th century. It is also referred to as the "Thirteen Hongs" or the "Canton Factories".
The site where the factories stood is now Wenhua Park, and Thirteen Hong Street, onto which the factories backed is now named Shishanhang Road.
In 1684, the Emperor Kangxi allowed foreigners to trade with China in four cities, including Guangzhou. In 1686, Westerners were allowed to also live in the area of the factories in Canton, at the head of the Pearl River.
The Thirteen Factories gradually lost importance after the First Opium War(1839-1842), a conflict after China banned the import of British opium. The Qing court was defeated by Great Britain and as a consequence of the Treaty of Nanking (1842), was forced to open five ports to foreigners and to cede Hong Kong to Great Britain. The Thirteen Factories was no longer the sole place for foreigners to trade and live in China. The factories burned down in 1856 during the Second Opium War and the western traders relocated to warehouses across the Pearl River on Honam until the British succeeded in claiming the site of a sandbar in 1859, and it was developed to become a foreign enclave.
The Hongs in Hong Kong that became major economic powerhouses beginning in the 1890s are usually credited to the British and other overseas merchants. Despite the origin of the name "Hong", the factories did not play a role in Hong Kong's economy in the 20th century.