Hokkien Association Hall Huoy Kuan - Kongsi or "clan halls" are benevolent organizations of popular origin found among overseas Chinese communities. This type of social practice arose several centuries ago in China. The Chinese word Kongsi is used in modern Chinese to mean a commercial "company"; the modern term for such associations is hui guan literally meaning "meeting hall". The system of kongsi was utilized by Chinese throughout the diaspora to overcome economic difficulty, social ostracism, and oppression. In today's overseas Chinese communities throughout the world, this approach has been adapted to the modern environment, including political and legal factors. The kongsi is similar to modern business partnerships, but also draws on a deeper spirit of cooperation and consideration of mutual welfare.