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. (Comptons 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 Mongolia. 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. (Comptons 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 1990 s. 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 Chinas food and industrial wealth.
In the center of this region sugar beets, soybeans and wheat are grown. This is Chinas 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. (Microsoft Encarta). 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.
(Comptons 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.
(Microsoft Encarta). Coal and iron for the regions industries come primarily from the Chang pai Mountains in the eastern portion of China. This area produces about one third of Chinas 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 Ticking fields fuels the economy. (McLenighan 43).
Because of Chinas geologic diversity, it possesses a wide variety of mineral resources. Principal mining regions still include Manchuria, especially the Liao dong 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 Sadi Arabia in rich oil reserves.
(Microsoft Encarta). 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 328). 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 Shantung 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 1990 s. 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 governments 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 1980 s and 1990 s, 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.
(Microsoft Encarta). 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. 311.