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China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ)


Since 1979 China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been beckoning foreign investors to do business in China.

What Are Special Economic Zones?

Special Economic Zones (SEZ) were created after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms were implemented in China in 1979. Special Economic Zones are areas where market-driven capitalist policies are implemented to entice foreign businesses to invest in China. The policies include investment in new infrastructure like office buildings and banks and preferential tax exemptions for foreign firms who want to invest in China.

Shenzhen became the model for China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) when it was transformed from 126-square-miles of villages known for sales of knockoffs to a bustling business metropolis. Located a short bus ride from Hong Kong in southern China, Shenzhen is one of China’s richest cities.

Where Are the Special Economic Zones?

Four Special Economic Zones (SEZ) were established in 1979, three in Guangdong province and one in Fujian province:
  • Shantou
  • Shenzhen
  • Xiamen
  • Zhuhai

Fourteen cities plus Hainan Island were also added to the list in 1986:

  • Beihai
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Lianyungang
  • Nantong
  • Ningbo
  • Qinhuangdao
  • Qingdao
  • Shanghai
  • Tianjin
  • Wenzhou
  • Yantai
  • Zhanjiang

New Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been continually added to encompass a number of border cities, provincial capital cities and autonomous regions.

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