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.
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.
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.