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Their main function was to speed the conveyance of mails and to promote national prestige. Airlines did not become commercially competitive with ocean liners until the 1960s (Chapter 2). The basic colonial pattern of sea and air routes persisted into the 1970s. Decolonization of the Philippines (1946), Burma (1948), Indonesia (1945–49), Indochina (1945–54), Malaysia-Singapore (1946–63), the erosion of colonial economic control and the growth in trade with East Asia was reflected in the establishment of national carriers and the increased importance of Hong Kong and Japanese lines.

Chinese and foreign capitalists, sometimes with whole factories, began to relocate to Hong Kong, which in the 1950s became the ‘boom city’ of Asia. Along with the rest of China, Shanghai remained closed to private trade and investment until the 1980s. ‘Main Street 2000’ is Singapore–Hong Kong–Tokyo, with Shanghai bidding for re-inclusion. As the Indian economy languished so also did Calcutta, growing in population but losing its international status. Meanwhile Japan’s rapid and sustained postwar expansion pushed Tokyo-Yokohama to world ranking in population, economic importance and international connections.

Source: Fossey (2000), IATA (2001) and Staple (2001). the top 25 for each mode. Seoul and Beijing have headquarters in two modes. Taipei and Shanghai have only shipping headquarters and Sydney, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok only airline headquarters. 14). In the mid-nineteenth century Main Street was Calcutta–Penang–Singapore–Hong Kong–Canton. The P&O mail steamers shuttled between Bombay and Hong Kong, exchanging mails in Ceylon with the main Suez–Calcutta line. Several other lines of fast steamers plied the opium run from Bombay or Calcutta to the Straits and China.

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