Western Trading Companies＇ Purchase of Tea in China during the Canton System Period of Qing Dynasty： As an Example of the Dutch East India Company
清代一口通商时期，西方各国贸易公司在华最大宗的进口货物是茶叶，主要为产自福建、江西两省交接的武夷山区与福建安溪县之红茶以及安徽东南部之绿茶。以荷兰东印度公司为例，其在广州的茶叶供应商为行商，分为公司保商与非保商，其中公司保商为首要供应商。荷印公司向茶叶供应商采购茶叶的途径有三种：与供应商订立合同采购新茶，向供应商散购陈茶，以及从自由市场补购新茶。During the One Port System period of Qing Dynasty, the largest share of goods western trading companies imported in China was tea, consisting of black tea from the Wuyi Mountains stretching along the border of the Provinces of Fujian and Jiangxi and the Anxi County of Fujian Province, and green tea from the south-easternmost part of Anhui Province. As an example of the Dutch East India Company, its teasupplying agents in Canton were the Hong merchants, including security merchants, the chief tea suppliers, and non-security merchants. The Dutch trade representatives had three options to procure teas. The first was to conclude a trading-season deal of ＂new teas＂ by off-season contract. The second was to make offseason purchase of ＂old teas＂ after the departure of the Company ships. Finally there was an additional trading-season purchase of ＂new teas＂ on the free market.