SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (12): 2027-2036.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2020.12.009

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The Daily Life and Place Identity of the Francophone Population in Guangzhou

Chen Haoxi1,2(), Yuan Zhenjie3,4,5,*(), Cai Xiaomei4,5,6   

  1. 1. Paris-Saclay University, Saint Aubin 91190, France
    2. The National School of Landscape Architecture, Versailles, 78000, France
    3. Center for Human Geography and Urban Development, School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, Guangdong, China
    4. Guangdong Provincial Center for Urban and Migration Studies, Guangzhou 510006,Guangdong, China
    5. Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519082, Guangdong, China
    6. School of Tourism Management, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2019-10-12 Revised:2020-02-11 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-01-09
  • Contact: Yuan Zhenjie;


The new normal of ‘flowing China’ has rendered China an important site for observing and theorizing international immigration research in a non-Western context. Recent years, Guangzhou has assumed the role and function as a global city, which attracts a large number of foreigners. The mobility of the international population and their assembly of international districts have become not only a new urban landscape of Guangzhou, but also new social-political actors of Guangzhou. In recent years, researchers focus primarily on Asian immigrants who live in large Chinese metropolises such as Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing etc. The Francophone immigrant, as a traditional immigrant group in Guangzhou, is still understudied. The history of Francophone immigration can date back to the founding of French Indochina from 1887. And at the end of the 1990s, due to the centralization and development of the urban economy of Guangzhou, many francophone immigrants have arrived in Guangzhou. They currently occupy a large part of the international population in Guangzhou. With the progress of The Belt and Road Initiative and the deepening of Economy Reform, more and more francophone immigrants will arrive in China to participate in commercial, educational, tourist, investment activities, etc. Francophone immigrants deserve further study in order to summarize their way of life and the formation of the place identity, and thus to examine their perceptions and practices of integration into the local society of Guangzhou. This study employs questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to investigate daily life and place identity of the francophone immigrants in Guangzhou. In order to ensure representativeness of interviewees, this study has taken various demographic characteristics into account, for instance, nationality, occupation, gender, etc. in the process of interviewee recruitment. In total, 13 interviewees from 10 French-speaking countries were recruited. Findings of this paper include: 1) The francophone immigrants are more active at the economic level and have a positive sense of self-efficacy. However, the differences linguistic and the inconvenience in regard to life supporting services leave a negative impact in building the place identity of Guangzhou; 2) Comparing with Japanese and Korean immigrants in Guangzhou, Francophone immigrants’ willingness of integrating into the local society is generally higher, and their passive driving force of integration is also stronger. In the shift from ‘Anglo-globalization’ to ‘multiculturally-led globalization’, to provide better services for international immigrants from non-English speaking background, and to enhance immigrants’ place identity to host societies are both demanded, in which deserve both researchers’ and policy makers’ further attention.

Key words: Francophone population, international immigrants, place identity, global city, globalization, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • K901.6