In 20 years of reform in China, the key development has been the opening-up of the market to foreign trade and international investment. This increased economic openess has been accompanied by profound changes in both economic organization and regional disparity. This comprehensive work focuses on the link between these economic reforms and the causes - and ultimately the implications - of regional inequalities in the most populous country in the world. The authors examine the effect of globalization on regional disparities in terms of income, regional growth, industrial location, urban-rural opposition, performance of the firm, human capital and mortality. In each case they provide new insights into the main changes in the Chinese economy and give original explanations as to the sources of regional diversity. The authors find that on the whole, regional disparities in China have tended to increase since reforms were introduced. They illustrate that this rise of inequality, in terms of both growth and income, results from the aptitudes of different regions to seize the new opportunities afforded to them by market developments.
They also demonstrate how current regional disparities and increased competition will go hand in hand with a polarization of industrial development in a few privileged regions.