2001 volume 33(1) pages 97 – 119
doi:10.1068/a33112

Cite as:
Gu C, Shen J, Wong K-y, Zhen F, 2001, "Regional polarization under the socialist-market system since 1978: a case study of Guangdong province in south China" Environment and Planning A 33(1) 97 – 119

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Regional polarization under the socialist-market system since 1978: a case study of Guangdong province in south China

Chaolin Gu, Jianfa Shen, Kwan-yiu Wong, Feng Zhen

Received 7 July 2000; in revised form 9 October 2000

Abstract. This paper is an empirical study examining the trends of spatial polarization under the new regime of the socialist-market system in Guangdong province in south China. It was found that a regional polarization process toward the core Zhujiang Delta region has occurred. The roles of old central cities such as Shaoguan, Zhanjiang, and Shantou outside the core region have been gradually weakened while some emerging cities such as Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Shunde, Nanhai, and Panyu in the core region have become strong growth centers. The dominant role of Guangzhou, established in the prereform planning system, has also been significantly weakened in the postreform period. Among the forces of development from above, below, and outside, local government revenue and savings per capita were found to be the key factors determining the level of development in various localities, confirming the key role of 'local state corporatism' in regional development in China.

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