HKDSE Geography/M3/China's Iron and Steel Industry 1950s-70s

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Characteristics[edit]

  • It was still a raw material- and power-oriented industry.
  • With the Communist liberation, the new central government adopted a planned economy and the role of government policy was great.

Distribution[edit]

  • Moved to the inland areas
  • In two stages:
    • In the North, it moved to Baotou and Taiyuan, then to Urumqi.
    • In the South, it moved to Wuhan and Xi'an and later to Kunming, Panzhihua and Chongqing.

Factors[edit]

Favourable factor Explanation
Raw materials
  • Fukang provided iron ore for Urumqi; there was much iron ore in Sichuan (Panzhihua)+Chongqing and near Wuhan.
Power
  • Shanxi (Taiyuan) and Shaanxi (Xi'an) were great producers of coal, as was Yunnan (Kunming).
Transport, infrastructure and amenities
  • Transport network to the inland areas were improving with highways and railways built.
Government policy

The government introduced the policy of industrial decentralisation to achieve these aims:

  • Ensure a greater balance of income, wealth, technology level and economic development between the East and the West
  • Prevent Japan and the US from bombing iron and steel plants in Eastern China
  • Attract workers to migrate to the inland, easing population pressures in the East

New Problems[edit]

Yet new problems arose:

Constraint Explanation
Land Harsh continental climate, rugged and uneven relief, steep slopes and difficult terrain in the West.
Labour Lower density of population and lower education level (unskilled labour) produced insufficient labour supply and quality
Raw material Iron ore of the interior was of inferior quality and scattered
Power Coal of the interior was of inferior quality
Market Markets were small as other industries were poorly developed
Transport The distance from the interior to the coastal areas was long. Transport networks were still poorly developed. Accessibility was low.
Capital Lack of capital