Understanding the development of sub-national regions in China and their role in China's engagement with globalization from the 1980s first requires an introduction to the formal political and administrative organization of China's territory. In the period since the 1980s the role and influence of sub-national governments in China's economic and social development has grown. The role of subnational governments and the devolution of greater power to provinces has not just related to domestic policy implementation, but has had implications for China's global interactions. A new phase of regional policy therefore began from the 1970s onwards, featuring the development of coastal areas and engagement with the global economy, and characterized by 'uneven development'. This chapter concludes with a brief review of some of the recent data on regional economic development, which makes clear the sort of divergent regional trajectories with which policymakers have to deal.