|Home base of 鄭芝龍 and Koxinga: Amoy and the nearby Kinmoy|
In the foreign trade heyday, the Cheng Clan owned and operated 5 ocean-going fleets under the flags of 仁,義,禮,智,信. Each fleet consisted of 12 large cargo ships. These ships with armed escorts were able to reach Pacific nations from Japan to Java. The privateering navy had also provided protection for other Chinese merchants against the in essence pirates from Europe. 鄭芝龍 had even waged wars against the then colonializing Dutchmen and, in 1633, defeated the Dutch fleet commanded by Hans Putmans (? - 1656) in Kinmoy. 鄭芝龍's enterprise had earned him and his followers immense fortunes. The Clan business was taken over by Koxinga in November, 1646, when 鄭芝龍 himself had inexplicably fell into a trap and surrendered to the Qing.
Before the Qing scorch-earth policy (see Part 1) was implemented, Koxinga's foreign trade sphere included Nakasaki, Edo, and Ryukyu in the north, extending south to Luzon, Siam, An-nan, Brunei, Malacca, Johor, and the western Pacific rim. Records show that in 1650, 60% of Koxinga's trade was with Japan, exporting to it, silk and silk products, porcelains, lacquered furniture, books and antiques, sugarcane sugar, and Chinese medicine, all in exchange for gold, silver, copper, Japanese swords, and seafood. Sixty cargo ships arrived in Japan every year with a total worth of 1.2 million taels of silver.
After Koxinga's death in 1662, his heir 鄭經Cheng Ching (1642-1681) continued the foreign trade tradition. While the Qing prohibition had impeded the flow of merchandises to the Ming-Cheng Kingdom in Taiwan, it had also effectively stopped access of foreign merchants to seaports in China. This created an opportunity for the island-based Kingdom to prosper in the international trade.
To further facilitate the trade, Cheng Clan's home base Amoy, lost in 1664, was re-taken in 1666 and the channel to continuous supply of Chinese goods re-opened. Between 1664 and 1673, a total of 108 cargo ships were dispatched to and arrived in Japan. Trade with SE Asia-based Dutch, Spanish and British merchants had also been sought for. The British East India Co was an especially important partner whose ships, the Bantam and the Pearl, first reached Port An-Ping (in Tainan, the then capital of Ming-Cheng) on June 23, 1670, and the trade, supplying the Ming-Cheng with much needed arms and weapons, continued until 1683.
The British, however, did not profit from this deal at all [to be cont'd].