China Essay, Research Paper
Manufacturing and Industry in China
The Chinese have long since been an enterprising group of people. Long
before the introduction of Western technologies and ideas, this country has had a
history of local industry dating back some 2000 years. These innovative people,
from an early time, produced paper, gunpowder, and silk, and printing with one of
the first movable type. In all, the manufacture of luxury items, fine handcrafts,
metal crafting and the manufacture of tools were all well established businesses
long before the onset of western entrepreneurs. (Compton?s Interactive).
One of the first goals of the Communists, after 1949, was to develop the
growth of heavy industry. The practice, following the model of the Soviet Union.
They attempted to attract industrial development in the interior sections of China.
The thought here was that there was already significant wealth in the old treaty
port cities. New steel mills were constructed at Wuhan on the Yangtze and at
Baotou in the Interior Mangolia. Other interior cities also grew at a rapid pace.
The communists took advantage, as well, of coastal cities, such as Shanghai.
Shanghai and the like were attractive due to their location and transportation
systems. These areas provided skilled labor and swift access to international
markets. (Compton?s Interactive).
During what the Chinese called ?The Great Leap Forward?, there were
large investments in heavy industry. There were small scale versions of these
industries such as steel refining. The program was abandoned, however, when it
caused great disruptions in the economic growth of the country. A ten year plan
was established in which economic conditions improved through a greater use of
privately owned enterprises, as opposed to the old state-owned businesses.
The idea for private enterprises proved to be a good one. The annual gross
domestic product (GDP) has grown over the years to over 544.6 billion dollars by
the early 1990s. Agriculture reached even the rural areas. The industrial output
through manufacturing, mining, electricity generation and building and
construction grew at an amazing rate. (Microsoft Encarta).
Prior to WWII the area known as Manchuria was called Manchukuo, This
prime area of land provides most of China?s food and industrial wealth. In the
center of this region sugar beets, soybeans and wheat are grown. This is China?s
largest and most fertile farming area totaling 140,000 square miles. (McLenighan
43). For years the Chinese operated under a feudal system, whereby the land was
owned by a small few who depended on their peasant farmers to pay their rents.
The taxes levied against them by the imperial government caused very little profit
to be made. It was not until 1949 when the Communist Party established a unified
government, with an emphasis placed on slowing the rate of inflation and ending
unneeded food shortages. Thus changing the unemployment situation in China.
Farming and agriculture are important elements in China. These industries
not only provide the food and fiber needed for the Chinese people but also about
80% of its people depend on this work for their livelihood. These enterprising
people have developed an elaborate system of maintaining the nutrient levels in
the soil by collecting all organic wastes, including human waste, fermenting them
and applying them to the crops. (Compton?s Interactive). China has nearly all of it
cultivated land irrigated. They have more irrigated land than any other country.
Through the commune system of agriculture, more experimentation was done in
planting and growing crops in favorable areas. The rural farmers used to work
these fields were given a piece of land for their own use and void of taxes.
Coal and iron for the regions industries come primarily from the Changpai
Mountains in the eastern portion of China. This area produces about one third of
China?s coal, steel and machine tools. Steel made in these areas was used by the
Russians to begin building railroads and factories in the northeast, at the turn of
the century. Dams now located on the Yalu River provide the electrical power to
large sections of China, while oil from the rich Tiching fields fuels the economy.
(McLenighan 43). Because of China?s geologic diversity, it possesses a wide
variety of mineral resources. Principal mining regions still include Manchuria,
especially the Liaodong Peninsula, due to the fact they contain significant mineral
deposits. Coal reserves in China of up to 11 trillion tons have been claimed in the
Manchuria area. Petroleum reserves are estimated to be a total of 147 billion
barrels. China now claims to be second only to Suadi Arabia in rich oil reserves.
The development of the earliest stretch of governmentally approved
railroads became significant to the Tangshan region. This area employed
approximately 25,000 miners in 1920 only to increase considerably as time went
on. The Chinese controlled cotton textile mills expanded, as well, during this
time. The Shanghai area, alone , employed some 100,000 workers. The majority of
these workers were employed by Chinese owned operations with the remainder
working for British and Japanese run enterprises. (Spence 326)*
Though the Chinese were an exceptionally intelligent group and some
with extreme wealth, an important development came in the form of Chinese
banking during the Qing era letters of credit and bills of exchange had mainly
been handled by a group of Shanxi banks. At the end of the Qing dynasty the
monopoly of these banks was ended by the founding of (2) National banks and (6)
branch ones. The Kong family was instrumental in laying the foundation for the
banking industry, as it is today. With one son educated at Yale and another at
Harvard, banking would change dramatically upon their return to China. (Spence
With the banking industry in place many loans were issued for the
construction of railroads. By 1920, 7000 miles of railway had been laid. Areas
once isolated were now accessible through the railroad. The construction of these
railroad were the necessary ?missing link? needed to speed up delivery of goods
as well as those headed for the coastal areas for international transport in China.
The railroad became the most important mode of transport in China. The railroad
not only moved people but also more than 40% of its? freight. Following 1949 the
length of the railroad doubled. Currently China services about 40 thousand miles
of railroad. (Microsoft Encarta).
With much of China booming with industry, they manufacture much of
the basic steelworks which make machines for other factories right down to the
finest in precision instruments used by surgeons. Every factory provides
education for its workers. This includes training about the industry as well as
reading and writing for those who require them. Workers are encouraged to take
an active roll in improving the machines and inventing new techniques for
industry. Industries keep costs down by keeping things simple, thus making
replacement parts cheaper. This also makes it easier for workers to be their own
mechanics. (Hammond 28).
China is still today a large textile manufacturing nation. The Shangtung
Province is the main location for these factories. The Chinese carpets we find in
many of our stores are all handmade in factories near Tientsin. The traditional
methods are still in use today. (Hammond 28). China spends much time
concentrating on industrial planning. The government continues to reassess its?
goals to continue a steady growth in its? products. The textile industry is the
largest in the world with a cotton yarn production of about 4.6 million metric
tons. Newer textile mills have been built in the cotton growing areas of Hubei,
Hunan, Hebei and the Shaanxi provinces. (Microsoft Encarta).
China continues to be one of the world leaders in producing electricity. An
estimated annual output of 740 billion kilowatt hours was recorded in the early
1990s. It has an installed generating capacity of 158.7 billion kilowatt hours,
which the Chinese still find insufficient to meet their needs. The government has
given this priority and continues to seek out even newer ways of generating more
in the way of electricity. (Microsoft Encarta).
The Chinese enjoy an active publishing industry. The government?s drive
for universal education has resulted in heightened public interest in both fiction
and nonfiction. Translated works of foreign authors has become a business in its?
self. China boasts some 1635 thousand newspaper with a combined circulating in
excess of 125 million. (Microsoft Encarta).
Exportation in China tops 92 billion dollars each year. It imports about
104 billion dollars. Principal export items include clothing, textiles, petroleum,
footwear, telecommunications, and sound equipment. Major imports include
machinery, steel products, automobiles, synthetics, agriculture chemicals, rubber,
wheat and ships. (Microsoft Encarta).
Through the aging leadership of Deng Xiaoping, who became a dominant
figure in China throughout the 1980s and 1990s, trade and industry expanded
considerably. By attracting foreign investment, Deng and the other leaders took a
far better look at the economic policies than the political aspect of prior leaders.
In all, the Chinese have become a major industrial nation through the
ingenious and determined efforts of its people. These efforts have continued to
expand for some 2000 years and will no doubt continue.