Augustine Heard & Co.: Building a Family Business in the China Trade (A)
Augustine Heard Sr. founded Augustine Heard & Company, a commission house focused on trade between China and the United States, in 1840. He welcomed his four nephews into the family business as it expanded in the increasingly complex economic and political environment of 19th century China. By 1861, the business had been flourishing for many years, but the context for foreign trade in China was changing. The four nephews, all having been made partners in the business, faced a decision. Should (and could) they alter the business model that had served their uncle so well for two decades? How could they best take advantage of the changing environment in China? Most importantly, how could they navigate their relationships as both brothers and partners?