Xingcheng County in northeast China's Liaoning Province is a manufacturing base for swimsuits. It's said that one in five of the world's swimsuits is made in Xingcheng in an industry that employs 60,000 people in the county. The swimsuit industry's rise in Xingcheng is evidence of how an industry can grow from nothing to a global scale thanks to an open market and sufficient supportive services, instead of administrative orders and means.
Nowadays, northeast China is under huge economic pressure, largely due to the local overnment overstepping its authority. The government's excessive involvement in the economy is squeezing out market forces and the private economy is struggling as a result. Northeast China was the first part of the country to enter the planned economy and the last to quit, and many local officials are yet to develop an understanding of the market economy, distrusting the market. The government is not good at making the most of social capital in order to operate economic projects and it lacks respect for entrepreneurs, let alone the idea of striving to keep businesses local and helping them make money for the regional economy. All these are stumbling blocks to economic resurgence and long-term development.
While the government should not be totally absent from the economy, its role should be focused on offering services. The key to the new round of economic revitalization in northeast China is to streamline administration and improve the business environment, which is the foundation for local economic resurgence.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in People's Daily on February 5)