Structural Issues Confronting China’s Third-front Resource-based Cities during the Period of Industrial Transformation: A Case Study of Panzhihua City

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Luyao Dai


China’s Third-front Construction was an immense movement which had a substantial influence on the country. The movement had two significant impacts on China, firstly, it improved the country’s strategic industrial structure; secondly, it enhanced China’s national defense industries. However, the decline of Third-front Enterprises and Third-front Resource-based Cities was due not only to economic causes but also political causes. Through a case study of typical Third-front Enterprises and a typical Third-front Resource-based City, Panzhihua city, Sichuan Province, that includes 13 in-depth interviews and 331 questionnaires, it was found that there were three structural problems encountered in the transformation of Third-front Resource-based Cities, namely: the locational disadvantage resulting from locating industry in remote areas; the operational disadvantage caused by poor management; and the market disadvantage caused by institutional issues. The situation was the result of the conflict of the three dichotomies of ideas, namely, war and peace; planned economy and market economy; and public ownership and private ownership.

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