Thursday, April 03, 2008

China, China's Boomtowns - National Geographic Magazine

China, China's Boomtowns - National Geographic Magazine: "But Wenzhou had the priceless capital of native instinct. Families opened tiny workshops, often with fewer than a dozen workers, and they produced simple goods. Over time, workshops blossomed into full-scale factories, and Wenzhou came to dominate certain low-tech industries. Today, one-quarter of all shoes bought in China come from Wenzhou. The city makes 70 percent of the world's cigarette lighters. Over 90 percent of Wenzhou's economy is private.

The Wenzhou Model, as it became known, spread throughout southern Zhejiang Province. Although nearly 80 percent of all Zhejiang entrepreneurs have a formal education of only eight years or less, the province has become the richest in China by most measures. The per capita incomes for both rural and urban residents are the highest of any Chinese province (this excludes specially administered cities such as Shanghai and Beijing). Zhejiang reflects China's economic miracle: a poor, overwhelmingly rural nation that has somehow become the world's most vibrant factory center."