26 August 2022

New Blogpost: Laurits Andersen - The Long Farewell 1912-1928

The Danish entrepreneur Laurits Andersen (1849-1928) lived most of his life in China, where he became one of the leading figures in the establishment of the country’s modern tobacco industry. This blogpost series will tell the story of Laurits Andersen’s life and relationship with China. It is based on Peter Harmsen’s PhD thesis from 2021 named “Resourceful and socially connected. The business biography of Danish tobacco entrepreneur, Laurits Andersen in treaty-port China, 1890-1922”

In the fourth and last part of the blogpost series China is characterized by revolution and the fall of the empire. The political turmoil could be seen in Mustard & Co.’s revenue figures. For a businessman like Andersen, the hiatus imposed by the rebellion was agonizing, as he described in a letter to an American colleague. BAT’s exposure to the Chinese state apparatus seems to have expanded after the revolution, partly because the new republic was considering ways to boost its finances and was eyeing a tax on tobacco and cigarettes. 

Read the rest about how China changed after the revolution and how Andersen's final years was in China here.