chapter  6
20 Pages

Cities in the global economy

Around 1979, after breaking ties with the former Soviet Union in the late 1950s and being closed economically and politically for over two decades, China opened its doors to the outside world. The domestic policy shift was reinforced by changes in the international arena: increasing global economic integration through trade and foreign investment. The spread of market reform also brought industry and the urban sector to the forefront. Since the mid-1980s, it is the urban industrial economy that is largely responsible for China’s phenomenal record of economic growth. Cities have become engines of growth in China’s rapid rise in the global marketplace. Urban Chinese now hold 70 percent of the country’s wealth, command incomes that are three times the rural average, and generate much of the demand for new consumer goods coming on to the market.