This theoretical and empirical study of market-oriented reforms in Chinese industry since the late 1970s focuses on the expansion of the market mechanism in the allocation of industrial products and the concurrent decline of directive planning - a strategy that is a crucial component of the ambitious overall reform "package" that Chinese reformers are trying to implement. The expanding role of Chinese industrial goods has had major implications for the functioning and importance of planning which, the author argues, has become largely irrelevant in terms of direct control over short-term allocation.