The panel papers aim to present ways in which conceptual and methodological insights from transnational history can contribute to business history in China. Business historians often write about companies or industries from a national perspective. However, in transnational history, the study of territorial regions which do not fall exactly within national borders and that are better able to explain spatial patterns of economic activity is a central concept. Looking to territorial regions, as units of understanding and alternatives to the nation-state, offer the chance to combine business historical scholarship with that of other fields to research and narrate how different actors and institutions formed networks and relationships of cooperation, competition, domination, and resistance. In the panel papers, transnational economic activity and relations are studied in the framework of sea basins as conduits of shipping and trading, and also of treaty ports and colonial port cities in China and in its vicinity. In these transnational or cross-border regions, bankers, shipowners, and traders were key actors in establishing and maintaining cross-border connections and networks. The challenge is to combine an intimate understanding of firms in their local contexts with an understanding of their role in shaping regional connections in China in conjunction with other actors and institutions. It is clear that this has to be backed up by extensive primary source research that emphasises the transnational relations within and beyond firms. Such perspectives beyond the firm can produce narratives that offer a more comprehensive understanding of globalization in China. The panel papers share such a transnational methodological approach combining a global and transnational perspective with original business historical research on companies. With these combined perspectives, the panel hopes to offer an important addition to a growing field of study within the broad remit of scholarship in business history casting the experiences of the Chinese arena in a sophisticated light and rivalling the available frameworks of analysis that have hitherto often been focused on state-centred narratives in East Asian history.