China One for the Money, One Goes Slow

Why the coast outpaces the interior in the race to prosper

Austerity-minded officials from Beijing sometimes complain that touring Guangdong province in South China is like visiting a foreign country. In contrast to much of China, Guangdong exudes abundance: successful farmers living in multistory houses, townships producing consumer goods ranging from shoes to toys to microwave ovens, thousands of privately owned businesses blossoming. Set in the humid delta of the Pearl River, Guangdong's capital, Guangzhou, better known in the West as Canton, seethes with enterprise. The Dongping Street free market is filled with stalls selling all sorts of food: fish swimming in tubs of fresh water, poultry, a greengrocer's delight of vegetables...

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