Yiwu: Historical transformation and contributing factors

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Yiwu has transformed from one of the poorest rural counties in the 1970s to one of the richest modern cities in China during the 2010s. This paper examines this significant historical transformation and its key contributing factors along the five dimensions: marketization, industrialization, urbanization, internationalization and digitalization. It also identifies what historical and contemporary factors stimulated the rapid growth of Yiwu and how Yiwu is a special case in comparison to other Chinese localities. This paper argues that business entrepreneurship, local government and their interaction have played particular roles in promoting Yiwu’s transformation. This study builds on and contributes to literature across the fields of development, entrepreneurship and anthropology. It demonstrates how entrepreneurship can promote development even if a region is lacking in what are often assumed to be necessary resources for development. However, for this to be the case there is the need for a supportive and risk-taking government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S14-S30
Number of pages17
JournalHistory and Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sept 2018

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