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In India the Company began the process of annexation when it acquired Bengal. This led to large scale colonisation and finally Empire. Nowhere was the economic impact felt more keenly than in India where some of its hand industries were killed off for the benefit of Britain's industrialized economy.

In China the Company’s trade in opium sparked off two Opium wars which tightened the Western grip on the Chinese economy and created a disastrous social problem inside China. By the end of the century, many millions of Chinese people had died as a result of opium addiction.

The successors to the Company’s trade are perhaps the great industrial and financial complexes which it helped create - Bombay, Calcutta, and Singapore – and which symbolize Asia’s continuing success as a major force in today’s global economy.

Asia is once more a major manufacturing force, balancing western imports and ideas with its eastern heritage.


Bombay, © Lindsay Hebberd/CORBIS
(click image to enlarge)


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