China / Society

The economic zones in China

( Updated: 2014-04-11 16:57

The Pearl River Delta area

The Pearl River Delta area is one of the most economically vibrant zones in China. Large scale commercial activities and foreign trade can be traced back in the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911).

After reform and opening up policies implemented in 1979 a number of cities in the delta - mostly in Guangdong province - have created one of the most developed areas of China in terms of GDP.

Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong, saw its GDP hit 1.5 trillion yuan ($421 billion) last year, a jump of 11.6 percent year-on-year, according to a local statistics agency.

The municipal government is eyeing 10 percent growth this year, exceeding the national average.

Hong Kong, long-hailed as a financial and trade hub in East Asia, is another economic booster for the region. The city's position as a free trade harbor and special administrative region give it the edge in luring mainland investment. The busy southern metropolis is also a popular tourism and shopping heaven for people living in the Chinese mainland.

Just to the northern border of Hong Kong, sits the young yet dynamic city of Shenzhen, created at the beginning of the reform and opening up. It is now the world's largest manufacturing base for consumer electronics such as smartphones and tablets.

The GDP for Shenzhen stood at 1.4 trillion yuan in 2013, a 10.5 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The three mega cities are surrounded by a dozen smaller ones, such as Dongguan, Foshan, Huizhou and Zhaoqing, all with strong private capitals working in the manufacturing, trade and logistics sectors.

Yangtze River Delta economic zone

As the nation bids to change its economic growth pattern, Shanghai leads the charge. The largest city in the Yangtze River Delta economic zone is also the financial center for China.

In late 2013, the central government set up the country's first free trade pilot zone trying to find new ways to boost domestic consumption.

Shanghai was dubbed China's answer to New York. The city houses the biggest stock exchange in the country and is home to numerous national banks.

Multinational corporations also choose Shanghai as their East Asian headquarters. Global giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp, General Motors and Citigroup Inc have set their China HQs in Shanghai.

The GDP for Shanghai exceeded 2 trillion yuan last year, according to the municipal government. The city's economy has seen steady growth over the years, with an annual growth rate similar to the national average.

Thanks to Shanghai's economic power, cities in neighboring provinces also showed rapid growth over the past decade or so.

Hangzhou, roughly 150 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, is becoming the country's electronic-commerce capital as online shopping heats up.

Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd commanded about 80 percent of customer-to-customer online shopping turnover last year, according to research firm Analysis International.

Cities in Jiangsu province are also included in the Yangtze River Delta economic zone. Suzhou, Wuxi and Nanjing are the largest culture and economy engines in Jiangsu thanks to industries such as electronic manufacturing, engineering, bio-technology and banking.

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