[photopress:Industrial_zones_Dalian.jpg,full,alignright]China in Brief has an article which is, in effect, a guide to special economic zones.
It states that in 1978 the Chinese government embarked on a policy of opening to the outside world in a planned way and step by step.
Since 1980, China has established special economic zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province, and designated the entire province of Hainan a special economic zone.
In 1984, China further opened 14 coastal cities – Dalian (seen in our illustration), Qinhuangdao, Tianjin, Yantai, Qingdao, Lianyungang, Nantong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Zhanjiang and Beihai – to overseas investment.
Then, beginning in 1985, the state decided to expand the open coastal areas, extending the open economic zones of the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou Triangle in south Fujian, Shandong Peninsula, Liaodong Peninsula, Hebei and Guangxi into an open coastal belt.
In 1990, the government decided to open the Pudong New Zone in Shanghai to overseas investment, and opened more cities in the Yangtze River valley.
In this way, a chain of open cities extending up the Yangtze River valley, with Shanghai’s Pudong as the ‘dragon head,’ was formed.
Since 1992, the State Council has opened a number of border cities, and in addition, opened all the capital cities of inland provinces and autonomous regions.
In addition, 15 free trade zones, 32 state-level economic and technological development zones, and 53 new- and high-tech industrial development zones have been established in large and medium-sized cities.
As these open areas adopt different preferential policies, they play the dual roles of ‘windows’ in developing the foreign-oriented economy, generating foreign exchanges through exporting products and importing advanced technologies and as ‘radiators’ in accelerating inland economic development.