China's industrial regions

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China's industrial regions


China has always been an agricultural country with little industrial development. It has huge reserves of coal, oil, natural gas, iron and other metals, but it was only after the communists came to power in 1949, that attempts were made to industrialize China. The Europeans developed their industries during the course of a century and the Japanese and Russians, with the advantage of European and North American experience, took five decades, but the Chinese have attempted to industrialize in a period of 30 years. Great progress has undoubtedly been made and the vast labour force available has enabled China to develop mineral resources, improved road and rail communications and set up many heavy industries. Rapid development has made China a leading producer of iron and steel, textiles, and cheap consumer goods such as toys, household goods and light metal goods. However, China has not yet developed a full range of industries.

Its great advantages of cheap manpower, natural resources, agricultural products and varied sources of power supplies should ensure its continued industrial growth.

The seven major industrial regions are:

  • (a) Manchuria: China's greatest area for heavy industry is centered on the Anshan-Fushun-Shenyang (Mukden) triangle. The availability of both coal and iron ore is the basis of the iron and steel industry. Engineering is also important and cars, tractors and factory equipment are made here. Chemicals are another major industry in the region.
  • (b) Tianjin Beijing (Tientsin-Peking Area. The presence of coalfields in Shanzi (Shansi) and Hebei Hopei) has contributed to the rise of the metallurgical and engineering industries here. Shipbuilding, textiles and chemicals are important in Tianjin (Tientsin) and light industries, textiles, and machine making in Beijing (Peking), the national capital.

  • (c) Shanxi-Baotou (Shansi-Paotow) Area : China's largest coalfield, in the provinces of Shenxi and Shanxi (Shensi and Shansi) and the presence of iron ore, with a metallic content of about 50 percent, has given rise to the iron and steel industries. Farm machines are made in response to the nation's need for agricultural improvement.
  • (d) Lower Chang-Jiang (Yangtze-Kiang) Area: This is China's oldest industrial region because the area has been open to foreign influence since the 1840s. The cotton textile mills of Shanghai are some of the largest in Asia. The are also shipyards, oil refineries, flour mills, steel plants, engineering and metal works in the lower Chang-Jiang (Yangtze-Kiang) region.
  • (e) Wuhen Area : Metallurgical and heavy industries including machine tools, railway equipment, shipbuilding and chemicals are dominant.
  • (f) XiJiang (Si Kiang)Delta Region: Industries including iron and steel, shipbuilding, textiles, chemicals, brewing, handicrafts and food processing are important.
  • (g) Sichuan (Szechwan): Iron and steel, textiles, paper and pulp, machinery, cement and chemicals are made here.

    Indian Sub-Continent: The economies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are still very much tied to agriculture. Mining and industries do not engage more than 3 per cent of the population. However, greater development of natural resources, e.g. iron, petroleum, salt, has taken place in recent years and industrial development is increasing.

    Most of the larger Indian and Pakistani towns have industries of some sort, mainly textiles, agricultural industries and cottage crafts. Lucknow has pottery and paper works; Kanpur is a woolen and cotton textiles town; New Delhi, the Indian capital, has textiles, chemicals and light metal works; Hyderabad has engineering industries. Other textile towns are Ahamadabad, Varanasi, Sholapur, Nagpur and Amritsar.

    The main towns of Pakistan such as Karachi, Hydrabad, Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi have industries related to agriculture such as rice-milling, textiles and food-processing. Dacca, Khulna and Chittagong in Bangladesh are industrial centers.

    Other Asian Industrial Regions: Many countries in East Asia are developing industries very rapidly and some are already highly industrialized. They have followed the example of Japan, though often working under even greater difficulties since they have had less developed economics to begin with, or like Hong Kong, which faced tremendous social problems posed by an influx of poor refugees from South Korea, Taiwan, and to a lesser extent Singapore.

    Next: Cotton Textile industry

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