ZHOU Guanqi

Pudong Jinmao Dasha, Shanghai. The Jinmao Tower, built in 1998, boasts 88 floors (eight being an auspicious Chinese number—hence the starting time of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony at eight minutes and eight seconds past eight p.m. on 8 August 2008). PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Even by the standards of rapidly developing China, Pudong New District, a designed economic zone to the east of Shanghai, is far beyond average. The district has shattered development goals, as well as expectations in education, social welfare, and the environment.

China’s port city of Shanghai is known as the “pearl of the East.” More than a pearl, Shanghai has been a magnet, attracting global attention for some time. As one of the cities in China with the most significant level of development, Shanghai is becoming an international city, and Pudong New District reflects this change.

As an area for experimental policies to promote harmonious development, Pudong sets an example for other areas in China in terms of government support, infrastructure construction, and function.


Pudong New District is located east of Shanghai and the Yangzi (Chang) River delta. It lies between Nanhui and Minhang Districts in the south and Luwan, Huangpu, Hongkou, Yangpu, and Baoshan Districts in the west. The district covers 570 square kilometers and contains twelve subdistricts and eleven towns.

The area has a long history. Pudong New District was called “Zhousha” in 535 CE and didn’t belong to Shanghai until 1292 in the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). From that time to 1984 the administrative region of Pudong (Zhousha) was changed many times. In 1990 the central government and the State Council of China decided to develop this area, and the area was given the name “Pudong.” In 1993 the Pudong New District Management Committee was formed, and the name “Zhousha” officially became history.

National Strategy

On 18 April 1990 the central government and the State Council of China decided to develop Pudong New District in Shanghai, with follow-up implementation from Shanghai’s municipal government and the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. In 2005 the State Council approved Pudong New District as an experimental site for comprehensive reform. The district was to be a “tripod” area: an area for applying new opening and reforming strategies, an area for innovation, and an area for a modern service industry, promising a new era in its development.

After seventeen years of planning, the construction of Pudong New District went well. The district has been commonly referred to as the “window of China’s opening and reform policies” and an “epitome of the modernization process in Shanghai.”

In terms of economic development Pudong New District has been solid and sustainable. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the district increased from 6 billion yuan in 1990 (the beginning of the development policy) to 210 billion yuan in 2005, with an average growth of 15 percent per year. Advanced manufacturing and modern service industries have been leading, with total production volume of the former exceeding 420 billion yuan in 2005. This accounts for 25 percent of the city’s total, of which tertiary industry (banking, finance, insurance and tourism) accounted for 49 percent. In the same year the consumption of Pudong New District exceeded 40 billion yuan, and foreign trade volume reached $90 billion, with an export volume of $37.2 billion.

In addition, by 2006, more than thirteen thousand foreign enterprises from more than one hundred countries had invested in Pudong New District, with a contract value of more than $30 billion. More than ninety-three hundred domestic enterprises have invested in Pudong New District, with a contract value of more than 60 billion yuan. Pudong New District accounts for one-fourth of the GDP, one-half of the foreign trade volume, and one-third of the foreign direct investment in Shanghai and clearly has been a powerful engine for economic development in the city.

Multifunction Center

After more than a decade’s development Pudong New District is a multifunction center for Shanghai. Different kinds of development zones in the district enhance the city’s functions. For example, the Lujiazui Finance Zone contains 360 financial institutes from China and abroad, including a branch of People’s Bank of China. Securities, futures, and properties can be efficiently exchanged in the zone, and financial resources are allocated according to free market rules. More than 60 percent of foreign bank assets and 80 percent of security turnover are found in the Lujiazui Finance Zone, and the property exchange scale is one of the top ones in China.

The Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone promotes international trade and logistics for bonded goods, which strengthen the function of transportation and the communication of seaports and airports. The economic volume, sales income, and tax revenue of the Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone accounts for one-half of those from fifteen bonded zones in China, and the container throughput accounts for two-thirds of Shanghai’s total (12 million standardized containers per year), making it one of the most important ports and logistics centers in the Yangzi River delta or even all of China.

The Jinqiao Export Processing Zone excels in advanced manufacturing and research and development (161 research institutes from China and abroad are located there), with more than $11 billion in investment and at least ninety major projects (each has on average more than a $10 million investment). In 2005 the industrial production value reached 129 billion yuan, and sales income in the zone reached 150 billion yuan. Furthermore, the progress in microelectronics, biotechnology, and information technology in the Jinqiao Export Processing Zone has promoted technological innovation and industry upgrades.

More Than Economic Development

The strategy of developing Pudong New District does not focus only on development. Development can bring economic benefit, but sustainable growth will also bring social benefits and promote a harmonious nation, which is a long-term goal of the Chinese government.

The ecological environment of Pudong New District has also been emphasized. Large gardens, ecological parks, and forests have been built on the edge of the district, and statistics show the result: By 2006, green space in the district increased by 3,000 hectares compared with the area covered in 1990, with 35 percent of Pudong New District being green space.#

Water pollution and air pollution have also received attention. The policy of “develop first and protect later” was eliminated, and a policy of “prevent first” is taking the lead. Since the end of 2005 all rivers and streams have been properly monitored, sewage treatment plants have covered the whole water system (8.3 percent of Pudong New District is covered by water), and all industrial sewage has reached required standards. In an area with busy traffic, automobile emissions have been limited so that during 85 percent of days in 2005 the air reached grade II of the air quality system, with 90 percent being the next goal of Pudong New District.

As a busy area with a large population, Pudong New District works hard at noise control and rubbish collection. Since 2005 noise in Pudong has been held to 60 decibels during the day and 50 decibels at night. Measures have b
een taken to promote rubbish categorization and collection as well, and 80 percent of residents’ rubbish has been categorized and recycled.

Although Pudong New District is a busy area with high-speed economic development, it contains a national nature conservation area of 420.2 square kilometers of wetlands that migratory birds visit every year. It is the best-preserved space in the country.

Urbanization and the Working Environment

Urbanization is a sign of city progress and in China a sign of what is called a “harmonious society.” The integration of suburbs and urban areas is among the top five of Pudong’s development strategies in terms of city planning, management, system insurance, education, and medical care.

A positive employment and business environment is vital for people’s sense of security and enterprise stability in any area, and Pudong New District is no exception. The government encourages industries, such as contemporary services and other labor-intensive industries, to create adequate employment opportunities, and private and community enterprises are also supported. An effective market-oriented mechanism is promoted for job hunters in which employment information is widely disseminated, and government macroadjustment is applied when needed. In addition, some facilitating policies, such as those that provide small loans and employment training workshops, are offered to encourage unemployed residents to start their own businesses, and an unemployment security system has been set up to provide an anxiety-free environment.

Future Directions

In spite of its success, Pudong New District has more to achieve, and the next stage of development is being planned. One goal of the district is building a top science and technology zone with solid innovation ability by international standards. Enterprise-centered innovation will be encouraged to promote and take advantage of the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs, and research and development centers will be built by Chinese and foreigners to improve competitiveness and attract enterprises to the district.

An innovative mechanism is only the core, and it needs a comprehensive service system as its coordinating periphery. Public information platforms will be built for better communication and understanding between enterprises and government, and a human resource reservoir is needed as a backup for high-speed development of science and technology (in 2005 more than fifty thousand employees worked in the Zhangjiang Science and Technology Park; more than fifteen thousand of them had more than one college degree). Investment and finance-related facilities, as a kind of policy guidance (including government financial support and finance mortgage), will be put in place to encourage new businesses to start or to coach investment decisions of existing investment companies and listed corporations. Public laboratories, hubs, technology evaluation centers, and other institutes are also required to make Pudong New District versatile and multifunctional.

New industries with high added value and great space for future development are expected to be the leading industries in Pudong New District. The most advanced assembly line for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) chip production has been imported to Pudong, which was already a national leader in the field (as of 2005 there were ten CMOS chip assembly lines with more than 150 related enterprises). Pudong Software Park, with an annual income of 20 billion yuan, is also prominent: More than fifty thousand employees work there. Also booming is biomedication, which in 2005 had an output of 15 billion yuan from more than two hundred enterprises. Other industries, such as automobiles and new materials, have already started and are expected to develop in coming years.

Pudong’s international airport and seaport offer the necessary transportation to build Pudong as a logistics center. Existing logistics, especially third-party logistics resources, can help to build a network of national or multinational shippers, shipping agents, purchase centers, and delivery centers, which can bring further commercial prosperity to the district. An efficient municipal traffic network will be improved based on existing river routes, roads, railways and subways.

Conferences and tourism can be the side products of the Shanghai International Exposition in 2010. Under construction are a conference venue and a convention theme park that can host 20 million people during a year and twelve hundred conferences annually. This development will make Pudong a conference and commercial tourism center.

With natural advantages, public expectations, and support from the government and other sources, Pudong New District has become a shiny pearl in the east of China.

Further Reading

Chen, S., & Gu, B. (2000). Pudong fa zhan de guan jian wen ti [Key issues in Pudong development]. Shanghai: Shanghai Pudong Li Shi Yan Jiu shi.

Fan, W. (2004). Quan qiu hua yu Pudong fa zhan [Globalization and the development in Pudong]. Beijing: She Hui Ke Xue Chu Ban She.

Feng, Z. (2005). Xun huan jing ji yu Pudong fa zhan [Recycle economy and Pudong development]. Beijing: Ren Min Chu Ban She.

Li, G., & He, X. (1992). Pudong fa zhan yu shanghai jin bu [Development in Pudong and progress in Shanghai]. Jiangsu, China: Jiangsu Ren Min Chu Ban She.

Shanghai Census Office. (1992). Pudong xin qu ren kou yu wei lai fa zhan [Population in Pudong New District and future development]. Beijing: Zhong Guo Tong Ji Chu Ban She.

Shanghai Pudong New District Working Committee. (2000). Pudong shi nian fa zhan: 1990–2000 [Ten years of development in Pudong: 1990–2000]. Shanghai: Shanghai Fareast Publishing. Shanghai: Shanghai Yuan Dong Chu Ban She.

Shanghai Social and Science Association. (1990). Pudong fa zhan zhi dao [Guideline for development in Pudong]. Shanghai: Shanghai She Hui Ke Xue Chu Ban She.

Wang, H. (1992). Pudong: Li shi he dang dai fa zhan [Pudong: History and recent development]. Shanghai: Shanghai She Hui Ke Xue Chu Ban She.

Wang, X. (2007). Liao jie Pudong: shi wu nian de fa zhan li cheng [Understanding Pudong: After 15 years’ development]. Shanghai: Shanghai Ren Min Chu Ban She.

Yao, X. (1995). Pudong jue qi yu chang san jiao fa zhan [Rise of Pudong and development in the Yangtze River delta]. Shanghai: Shanghai Ke Ji Chu Ban She.

Yubing Zhai. (1997). Pudong New Area development project in Shanghai, China (Working paper). America: Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Zhang Xuebin. (2007). Shanghai Pudong (Shanghai Series). Australia: Cengage Learning; 01 edition.

Zhang, Z. (1995). Xin shi ji de Pudong fa zhan yu zhong guo jing ji [Development in Pudong and Chinese economy in the new century]. Shanghai: Shanghai She Hui Ke Xue Chu Ban She.

Zhao, Q. (2007). Pudong luo ji: Pudong fa zhan yu jing ji quan qiu hua [Pudong logics: Pudong development and economic globalization]. Shanghai: Shanghai San Li
an Chu Ban She.

Source: Zhou, Guanqi. (2009). Pudong New District. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1811–1816. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

The Pudong “new district” of Shanghai. The city itself is called known as the “pearl of the East.” PHOTO BY TOM CHRISTENSEN.

The view of the Bund from Pudong side, 1930s. The Pudong (in foreground) remained a farming village until 1990s. Now it has become China’s financial and business center.

View of the Pudong New District, looking across to the Bund in Shanghai. The Pudong was set up to be a “tripod” area—for applying new opening and reforming strategies, for innovation, and as the base of a modern service industry. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Pudong, Shanghai. The Shanghai International Exposition will come to Pudong in 2010. Under construction are a conference venue and a convention theme park that will host 20 million people and twelve hundred conferences annually. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Pudong New District (P?d?ng X?nq? ????)|P?d?ng X?nq? ???? (Pudong New District)

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