Faith-Based Business Ethics Among African Muslim Small-Scale Businessowners in Guangzhou, China




African migrants, Muslim migrants, Africans in China, Islam, Religious common ground


Based on 14 months of ethnographic research, this article examines how African Muslim migrants build and maintain faith-based business ethics and how they apply these ethical business norms to help navigate their transnational lives in Guangzhou, China. Most of the African Muslim migrants included in the study are small-scale business owners who engage in semi-formal economic activities in both local and home markets. They face racial, cultural, and legal challenges on a daily basis. Unable to access formal means of support due to their precarious economic and legal status, many African Muslim small-business owners rely on informal business ethics to ensure a safe trading environment and mitigate risk. Their business ethics, I argue, are rooted in what I term “religious common ground” – the moral and ethical values shared among migrants from different Muslim groups. This article also explores the enforcing mechanisms of African Muslim small-scale business owners’ business ethics, such as mosques and coreligion business networks. This article concludes that there is no universal, standard code of conduct among African Muslim business owners in Guangzhou. Individuals among different Muslim communities have diverse interpretations of business ethics and practice them differently based on their nationality, ethnicity, religious habits, and socio-cultural backgrounds. This article contributes to a small but important literature that addresses the central role that religion plays in Muslim migrants’ business practices in a non-Muslim society.


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How to Cite

Jiang, Q. (2023). Faith-Based Business Ethics Among African Muslim Small-Scale Businessowners in Guangzhou, China. African Human Mobility Review, 9(2), 60–79.