Challenges to the sustainability of 'development zones': A case study of Guangzhou Development District, China

Siu Wai Wong, Bo sin Tang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid economic globalization presents major challenges to the sustainable development of 'development zones' in many countries. Development zones in China evolved from the concept of Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in the western world. After China's accession to the World Trade Organisation, however, they have lost their special preferential status to the overseas investors in terms of promotion of industrialization and inward investment. With the changing global and national circumstances, spatial, economic and social transformations are taking place in these development zones. Given the vast number of development zones in China, the successful integration of these development zones into the regional and urban contexts will have great implications on the economic and social development of China. Based upon a case study of Guangzhou Development District (GDD) which is one of the earliest development zones of China, this paper examines the evolution of development zones in the mainland with particular reference to the development problems associated with their urbanisation in recent years. Although this paper primarily focuses on GDD, the findings and discussion will provide insights for other development zones of China in reviewing their development strategies as most of them are sharing similar development problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-316
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Development zone
  • EPZ
  • FDI
  • Urban development
  • Urbanisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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