Chapter 9: China
The People’s Republic of China’s logistics sector has been given unprecedented attention since the announcement of the country’s 10th Five-Year Plan (2001–05). The Plan sought to ‘develop the producer service industries by introducing new forms of enterprises and advanced technology; developing [supply] chain operations, logistics and distribution, agency system, multi-modal transportation; and upgrading the traditional transport circulation industry, transportation industry and postal industry’ (LFRC, 2004, 1). Any understanding of the priority given to the logistics sector requires an appreciation of the country’s geography, and at least 100 years of history. Charting a path through China’s modern history from the founding of the Republic of China in 1911 is not an easy task until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 when it becomes possible to discuss logistics during the successive eras of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin before concentrating on Hu Jintao and looking ahead under Xi Jinping. Initially, however, it is important to examine the pivotal role played by Dr Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China. In 1922 Sun Yat-sen, a former Minister of Railways, provided a vision of an integrated transport system to underpin China’s international development (Sun, 1928 ). The scenario was based upon establishing the great northern, central and southern ports focused on the Bohai Rim, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta respectively, with a progressive dispersion of the railways away from these maritime hubs to inland settlements (Figure 9.1).
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