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This Day, That Year: Aug 26

China Daily| Updated: Aug 26, 2019


Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Aug 26, 1980, the National People's Congress formally approved the establishment of the country's first special economic zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong province to encourage overseas investment and boost economic growth. Two months later, the Xiamen zone in Fujian province was approved.

Special economic zones have been an important part of the country's reform and opening-up policy since 1978. Thanks to the policy, surging investments from overseas have turned Shenzhen from a small fishing village to China's first-and one of the most successful-special economic zones, as seen in an item on May 23, 1983. Shenzhen had attracted 14 percent of the country's total foreign investment as of 1992. It is the country's major trading hub and a leading manufacturing base.

Following the successful development of the special economic zones, China established its first 14 national economic and technological development zones in 1984.

On Feb 18, 1985, the State Council, China's Cabinet, decided to further open up the three richest coastal regions to the world.

They are the delta regions of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers and parts of southern Fujian covering Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Quanzhou.

In 1992, a national economic and technology development zone was established in Yangpu, Hainan province.

So far, 219 such zones have been established across the country, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The economic zones and industrial clusters have made crucial contributions to China's phenomenal economic growth and have successfully tested the market economy.

Opening up further, the country's first free trade zone was established in Shanghai in 2013, serving as an important channel by which prime foreign products could enter the country.

The successful experience in Shanghai led to the announcement of more FTZs in recent years, as well as to the creation of Xiong'an New Area, an ambitious plan to transform the dusty plains of Hebei province near Beijing and Tianjin into a dynamic green model city by using cutting-edge technology.