The origin of the Institute of East Asian Societies and Economies can be traced back to the studying group in which Professor Cheng-shu Kao led some researchers and graduate students to study sociological theories as well as history and philosophy. In a gathering during Chinese New Year, they decided to establish a research center in order to sustain this intellectual legacy. Under the agreement of University President Ko-wang Mei, the Institute of East Asia Society and Economies was formally founded in 1987.
The long term concern about the development of China also made the Institute draw attention to the transformation of the economic structure in not only East Asia but also the world. Based on this, at the twenty second anniversary in 2007, the Institute chaired by Professor Cheng-shu Kao launched a two-year research program Beyond “East Asia”: The Restructuring of “North Asian” Societies and Economies－ A Study of Global Demand and Taiwanese Manufacturing and won a grant from Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Scholars including Professor Wong Siu-lun of Hong Kong University, Professor Gary Hamilton of Washington University, and Professor Liu Shih-ting in the Department of Sociology of Peking University also co-hosted the program. The research beyond East Asia as well as into the world got started accordingly. Also, research of the Financial Sociology was conducted under the guidance of Professor Chen Chieh-hsuan. From that point on, research on China and Financial Sociology have become the main concerns of the Institute of East Asian Societies and Economies. More detailed information is shown at the website, http://sosc.thu.edu.tw/asia.htm.
By then, many interviews with Taiwanese enterprises had been finished and recorded. With years of intensive studies and discussions, knowledge about the social condition which contributed to the economic growth of Taiwan was formed gradually. The research into Hong Kong was unveiled simultaneously. Members of the Institute visited some places such as Central, Mong Kok and Wan Chia before the sovereignty of Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. Afterwards, more than forty enterprises were interviewed and studied within three years with the grant from both the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and the National Science Council.
The rise of China as a world factory could not be neglected as the research went on, as it inspired members of the Institute for further enterprise researches in Shen Zhen, Dung Guan and Zhu Hai in China. Things did not go smoothly in the beginning. It was not until Chinese sociologist Yuan Shen joined the research, and thus the networks were created and the door to China opened as well. A deep friendship was developed between members of the Institute and Chinese scholars from Tsinghua University or Peking University such as Li-ping Sun, Yu-hua Kuo, Shih-ting Liu, and Tse-chi Chiu. The research into China was thus rooted.