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China Table of Contents



Before 1949 industry was concentrated in the large east-coast cities and in the northeast. Shanghai was the largest industrial center, followed by Anshan, Fushun, and Shenyang, all in Liaoning Province. Qingdao, in Shandong, and Tianjin also were important industrial centers. Only a few cities in the interior had any modern industry; they included Wuhan, Chongqing, and Taiyuan (see fig. __. Major Industrial Areas and Facilities, 1983).

During the First Five-Year Plan (1953-57), the government specifically emphasized development of the northeast and areas other than Shanghai, China's most important industrial base. Industrial sites were constructed in the north around the new steel mills at Baotou, Nei Monggol Autonomous Region, and in central China in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Industrial centers also arose in the southwest, mostly in Sichuan Province.

In the 1950s, industrial centers in east and northeast China accounted for approximately two-thirds of total industrial output. However, by 1983 industrial centers in the north, south, and southwest had increased their share of output to more than 40 percent (see fig. __, Percentage Distribution of Gross Industrial Output Value by Region, 1983). This increase was the result of a policy begun in the 1950s to gradually expand existing industrial bases to new areas, to build new bases in the north and south, and to establish a new base in the southwest.

From 1952 to 1983, south, southwest, and northwest China registered higher industrial growth than the east, northeast, and north regions. Total industrial output grew the fastest in the south--from 13.7 percent of total output in 1952 to 18.5 percent in 1983 (see table __, Gross Value of Industrial Output, By Province, 1952, 1957, 1983. Appendix A). The government had stressed developing the interior regions since the 1950s, but by 1986 it had abandoned that strategy in order to develop areas with more established infrastructures. According to this plan, the south would continue growing, but the east and northeast would be the main benefactors.

Data as of July 1987