Never a formal part of the british empire. China emerges as part of the informal empire. The canton system (1757-1842) restriction places on foreign traders in china to control western presence within china. Canton only port where europeans are permitted to trade and hold property. Tea and opium free trade in china"s benefit, china exporting way more to the west then importing. European desire for chinese tea paid for with british silver and indian goods. Chest of opium = 63. 5 kilograms or 139. 7 pounds. The opium trade involved relationships of governments, businesses and individuals of various nationalities with stake in opium trade. Beic benefits up to middle of 19th century. Taipans or great managers : heads of hongs. Jardine matheson & co. of canton country traders: private traders compradors involvement of non- europeans in opium trade. Tranship opium to china eg jamsetjee jejeebhoy (1783-1859) china trader. Chinese involvement in opium trade: traders and handlers.