During the period of early modern Western expansion, Asian civilizations were highly diverse. China and Japan were two of the Asian civilizations that were not fundamentally reshaped by the West. The Europeans were eager to influence the Asian civilizations with trade, technology, and missionary activities, although the Europeans were expelled by both countries. Asians weren't interested in converting to Christianity, and none of the goods seemed desirable, especially to the Chinese. Many of the European ideas didn't impress the Asians, especially the Chinese and had minimal impact on some of the Asian states such as the Chinese. .
During the Ming dynasty, under Emperor Yongle, sent a fleet of Chinese trading ships under admiral Zhenghe through the Strait of Malacca and out into the Indian Ocean. Zhenghe's voyages were the result of Emperor Yongle's curiosity and desire for personal greatness. Yongle was intrigued by the giraffes so he placed them in the imperial zoo and Yongle was seeking to ascertain the truth of rumors that his predecessor, Emperor Jianwen had escaped to Southeast Asia to live in exile. After the death of Emperor Yongle, the Chinese ended the expeditions and developed a policy of isolation, but the Europeans were drawn to China. During the period of early modern Western expansion, Europe brought new goods and missionaries to proselytize the Chinese. European inventions such as the clock, the prism, astronomical and musical instruments, and glasses impressed the Chinese officials, although Western ideas never won acceptance at court. Before the arrival of the English and the Dutch, the inflow of vast amounts of foreign silver led to an increase in inflation, but the arrival of the Europeans disrupted the silver trade. This strained the Chinese economy and caused the value of silver to rise relative to the value of copper. In 1514, the Portuguese arrived in China and the Portuguese ships became involved in the regional trade network, carrying silk to Japan in return for Japanese silver.