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Chung‐Ming Lau and Liqun Wei


China has a land area of 9.6 million km 2 and is the third‐largest country in the world. With a population of 1.295 billion people at the end of 2000, about 22 percent of the world's total, China is the world's most populous country. China's gross domestic product (GDP) was US$860 per capita in 2000, with a growth rate of around 7 percent per year. People in cities and towns make up 30.4 percent of the population, and those in rural areas make up 69.6 percent. At the end of 2001, the total number of those in employment was 737.4 million, with 247.8 million people employed in urban cities. Of all those employed, 7.16 million people are in state‐owned enterprises (SOEs), 1.12 million in collective firms, 3.91 million in foreign‐invested firms, and 3.67 million in Hong Kong‐, Macao‐, and Taiwan‐invested firms. The remaining labor is in private‐owned firms. Before the introduction of economic reform in late 1978, China followed a centrally planned economy and adopted the mode of public ownership in all kinds of operations. Since the reform, the Chinese central government has encouraged diversified ownership, but still insists on the primacy of public ownership. As a result, individual small businesses and private firms have grown rapidly. By the end of 2001, the number of individually and privately owned registered industrial and commercial enterprises amounted to 13.2 million, covering ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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