Early Chinese contact with Fiji was very similar in experience to that of the Europeans, natural resources being the main attraction. The valuable resources in Sandalwood and Beche-de-mer called to many Chinese seamen during the early 1800s.
Shortages of labour in the developing colony and greater restrictions placed over blackbirding later, led to calls for the importation of Chinese to work on the plantations. While Chinese labourers didn’t come to Fiji in any numbers, the Chinese population developed small businesses, such as shops, importers and laundries.
The Chinese community was initially a temporary community of short-term visitors, however, due to the Chinese Revolution in 1911 and the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, many of the Chinese were prevented from returning to their homeland and established themselves permanently as part of Fiji’s community.