There is no shortage of special geographic designations that the central government has established around China. It can be hard to keep track of: there’s Taiwan, special administrative regions, special economic zones, autonomous zones, etc. Naturally, giving different regions different designations leads to a divergence from the policies of the central government.
Guangdong province is one of these places. Though Guangdong is not designated as a special area as a whole, it contains three of the six municipal special economic zones in China: Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou. “Special economic zone” means less government oversight in businesses, which in turn means more room for economic growth. Tencent, Huawei, and numerous other behemoths of Chinese industry are based in the province.
Anyhow, the Economist has a fantastic report on the region. I found it interesting partly because I am in the region, and partly because it points out how problematic it is to refer to “China” as a singular entity when talking in economic terms.
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