DOI link for Introduction
This book is an exploration of urban changes occurring in the coastal region of China in the period since its “opening-up” after the end of the Maoist era in 1976. These changes have been brought about as a consequence of both China’s economic and political reform and its increasing integration into the global economy. Geographically the book focuses on the coastal provinces that were the first areas opened up to foreign investment in the period after 1979. The term coastal areas is the same as the Chinese government’s designation of the eastern region consisting of the provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, and the provincial level cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. For our purposes it also includes the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macao.2 In the early stages of reform the formation of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), such as Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shantou that were created in 1979 and Hainan island in 1988, allowed special economic policies, new systems of management and experiments with land markets that encouraged foreign investment. The policy was expanded in 1984 with the establishment of 14 “open coastal cities” that were given considerable autonomy in fiscal and management matters. This policy initiative was directed towards fulfilling Deng’s vision that these cities would become catalysts for international trade and investment that would flow outwards to the surrounding regions. This action was quickly followed by the extension of these incentives to “Open Economic Regions” in the Yangzi River Delta, Pearl River (zhujiang) Delta and coastal Fujian to be followed by the inclusion of other parts of the coastal zone including parts of Shandong and Liaoning provinces. In the early 1990s Pudong was created as a New Zone in metropolitan Shanghai. It became the focus of major national and municipal initiatives and investment. At the same time many provincial capital cities and five cities along the Yangzi River were granted open city status (see Figure 1.1).