China’s rapid economic growth has attracted the attention of foreign investors all over the world, and the flow of foreign investment into China has had much to do with the country’s establishment of development zones and industrial parks.
Collectively called industrial parks, these parks – economic and technological development zones(ETDZ), high-tech industrial development zones (HIDZ), free trade zones (FTZ), and export processing zones (EPZ) – promise a developed infrastructure, a relatively efficient administration and above all, attractive business terms.
Upon opening its doors to the world, China implemented a series of pilot projects to encourage economic growth and develop-ment. In the early 1980s, four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were established, one each in Shenzhen, Xiamen, Zhuhai, and Shantou, in an attempt to attract foreign investment. In SEZs, special policies were adopted to facilitate foreign investment, and preferential tax policies were implemented. In 1988, the final SEZs were established in Hainan Province.
At the beginning, the establishment of SEZs was largely intended to attract investment from overseas Chinese, especially from Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew dialect groups in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries. This strategy turned out to be a great success.
Encouraged by a visit to several SEZs in 1984, Deng Xiaoping, the master planner of China’s reform policies, saw that China could designate parts of several other cities in the coastal regions as development zones. While these zones would not be called SEZs, they would adopt some of the policies of the SEZs.
By the end of 2002, 6,866 industrial parks had been set up in China, including state- level, provincial, municipal and county-level industrial parks. However, in 2003, China launched a program to normalize land usage, and had cut the number of industrial parks to 1,568 by the end of 2007.