Impacts of Economic Restructuring of Export-Oriented Industrialization on Urban Development in the Pearl River Delta – A Case Study of Dongguan

Department: Urban Planning and Design
Research Centre: Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning;
Active Dates: 30 June 2017

Principal Investigator: Anthony G.O. YEH (PI)

Funding body: Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme (37002617)


China’s urbanization and economic development have been tremendous since the adoption of economic reform and open door policy in 1978.  Because of the national urbanization policy of China, in addition to industrialization in the cities, industrialization was occurring in the rural areas as well. Rural urbanization is fueled by the growth of industries of village and township enterprises (VTE) in the once rural areas of China, especially areas in the coastal areas. However, in past few years, there is a trend of economic restructuring in China. With the rapid increase in wages and land prices in the coastal areas, the rise of China to become the second largest economic system after USA, and the decline in the European and North American markets, industrial products except those high-tech industries, were no longer as competitive as before. There has been difficulties in recruiting cheap labour and decline in the export-oriented industries, especially in the Pearl River Delta. There is also a rising trend of the development of producer services in the large cities of the Pearl River Delta with economic restructuring from manufacturing, to services and then to producer services industries.  The study aims to examine the soico-economic and land use impacts of economic restructuring on urban development in the Pearl River Delta, one of the early success of export-oriented industries.  The study will enhance our understanding of the impacts of economic restructuring on urban development, especially on the once boom towns and cities in the era of export-oriented industrial development. It will help other cities in China which have similar characteristics as the PRD to be better prepared to deal with the problem of industrial decline and the concomitant derelict industrial buildings and land.

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