21.3 Rapid Development in China and India

China and India dominate much of Asia. Together, they are home to about two-fifths of the world's population. China is a major industrial nation. Although India's economy is smaller, it has grown rapidly in recent years and is a leading Asian and global power. Both China and India have taken followed their own paths toward development.

Photo of a river with a city scape of each side and water traffic.

Shanghai is China's main industrial center. A population of more than 16 million makes it China's largest city. Increased business has led to growth, but also to problems.


  • Describe how China has moved toward a free market economy without allowing democratic reform.
  • Identify continuing challenges that China faces.
  • Explain how India has built its economy.
  • Summarize social reforms in modern India.

Key Terms

  • Deng Xiaoping
  • Tiananmen Square
  • one-child policy
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • Mother Teresa
  • dalit
  • Kolkata

Reform and Repression in China

A New Approach to the Chinese Economy

Mao Zedong, the architect of China's communist revolution, died in 1976. After his death, more moderate leaders took control of China. By 1981, Deng Xiaoping (dung show ping), had adopted a new approach to China's economy. Deng was a practical reformer, more interested in improving economic output than in political purity. “I don't care if a cat is black or white,” he declared, “as long as it catches mice.”

Deng's program, the Four Modernizations, emphasized agriculture, industry, science, and defense. The plan allowed some features of a market economy, such as some private ownership of property. Communes, or collectively owned farms, were dismantled, and peasant families were allotted plots of land to farm in what was called the “responsibility system.” Farmers did not own the land, and the government took a share of their crops. However, farmers could sell any surplus produce and keep the profits.

Entrepreneurs were allowed to set up businesses. Managers of state-run factories were given more freedom, but they had to make their plants more efficient. Deng also welcomed foreign capital and technology. Investors from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Western nations invested heavily in China.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments