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Introduction to Xiamen SEZ

Xiamen Special Economic Zone (Xiamen SEZ) was founded in October 1980 with ratification from the State Council of the People's Republic of China. In October 1981, construction of the Huli Industrial District, the then site of the SEZ, was inaugurated. March 1984 saw a decision made by the State Council that the SEZ be expanded to the whole Xiamen Island (including Gulangyu Islet), covering an area of 131 square kilometres, and that certain policies for a free port be exercised in the SEZ. In 1988 Xiamen was listed by the central government among the several municipalities enjoying an independent status in the state economic planning, and executing economic administration with a provincial capacity. In May 1989, with authority delegated from the State Council, Xiamen's Xinglin and Haicang Districts, which were not included in the SEZ proper, were designated as Investment Areas for Businessmen from Taiwan, implementing policies prevailing in the SEZ. At present, Xiamen municipality exercises administration over six districts and a county, occupying an area of 1516 sq. km., with a population of 1.1345 milion, of which urban people account for 60 per cent.

Xiamen is a traditional trading port. Before the reform and opening to the outside world, however, its trade volume grew slowly. In 1960, Xiamen's total export value amounted to only US$1.3 million, whereas import value was less than US$4 million. In 1979, the year just before the founding of the SEZ, its export value was only a little more than US$100 million. Commodities exported were mainly native produce, animal by-products, and cereals, oils and foodstuffs. Export value of the industrial products accounted for 8% of that of the total industrial output. Foreign trade was conducted by 5 specialized companies designated by the central government, and they handled exports only, enjoying no right for import.

Ever since the establishment of Xiamen SEZ, a rapid development has been brought about in every field of its undertakings. An SEZ of comprehensive, export-oriented economy has taken shape with industries as the mainstay supplemented by tourism, commerce and real estate, while certain policies for a free port are under way.

Since the founding of Xiamem SEZ, foreign-funded enterprises have gradually become the main force in its economy. Xiamen's export markets are no longer confined to Hong Kong, Macao and countries in southeast Asia; there are now more than 140 countries and regions including U.S.A., Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Europe, etc. with which Xiamen has foreign trade contacts.

By the end of 1994, 2982 contracts with direct foreign investment had been approved in the city, with a contractual foreign investment of US $ 10.721 billion. 1876 foreign investment enterprises are currently in operation.

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