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"The firsts" in China's 30 years of reform and opening up
Latest Updated at 2008-November-10 09:47:16

The Late 1970s to early 1980s

1. In 1978, Xiaogang Village in Fengyang County, east China's Anhui province, became the first place in the country to initiate the household contract responsibility system, a bold rural economic reform scheme under which land was leased to families in return for meeting fixed output quotas. The system made rural households into farmland contractors, greatly boosting their agricultural production. Xiaogang has since been seen as a pace-setter for the nation's rural reform.

2. The first foreign bank that landed in China in December 1979 was a representative branch of the Export and Import Bank of Japan. According to China's Banking Regulatory Commission, the number of foreign bank outlets in China increased from 190 to 312 in five years after China joined the WTO in 2001.

3. The first-ever joint venture that was set up in the 1980s between a mainland company and an overseas enterprise was the Beijing Air Catering Company, by Hong Kong's renowned entrepreneur, Dr. Annie Suk-ching Wu.

4. China's first recoverable satellite was launched on November 26, 1975 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

China's first long-distance carrier rocket was blasted off on May 18, 1980.

The launch of services for European aerospace manufacturer Aerospatiale Matra in August 1987 marked China's first ever involvement with the international space industry .

China launched its first experimental Shenzhou spacecraft on November 20, 1999. (The re-entry module landed in Inner Mongolia the next day.)

5. Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, the first ever SEZ in China, was formally established on August 26, 1980 as the vanguard of China's reform and opening up. In just 28 years, Shenzhen has developed from a small fishing village into a modern city with one of the highest regional gross domestic products in China.

6. On December 11, 1980, Zhang Huamei, a 19-year-old girl from Wenzhou, east Zhejiang Province, received China's first individual business license (number GSZZ 10101) from the Wenzhou Office of Industry and Commerce to become China's first self-employed entrepreneur. She is now an agent for Weixing Button Company and a corporate representative for Huamei Clothing.

7. In 1983, the Yinhe I Supercomputer, with a performance of 100 million floating point operations per second (FLOPS), burst onto the tech scene. Ten years later, Yinhe II, the first to operate at 10 trillion FLOPS, was listed as one of China's top ten scientific and technological achievements of the year. The subsequent Yinhe III supercomputer received a top-level award for national scientific and technological progress.

8. In July 1984, Tianqiao Department Store, the first stock limited company in China, was founded in Beijing.

9. In November 1984, the first ever stock in China, Xiao Feiyue, was successfully issued in Shanghai.

The late 1980s to early 1990s

10. Shenzhen held the country's first land auction in December 1987, when an 8588-square-meter plot of "transferable land" with 50-year usage rights was sold, setting a milestone in China's land system reform.

11. An 18.5-kilometer expressway from Shanghai to Jiading, finished in 1988, was the first expressway on the Chinese mainland.

12. Electron positron collision was for the first time realized at the Beijing Electron-Positron Collider (BEPC) in October 1988. At the time, BEPC was the world's eighth largest energy accelerator lab.

13. The Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE), China's first experimental futures market, was established on October 12, 1990.

14. The Shanghai Stock Exchange, China's first ever stock market, was founded on November 26, 1990 and began operating less than a month later. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the second of China's two largest stock exchanges, was established a week later and was put in operation by July 3, 1991.

15. The Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, China's first self-designed, constructed and managed nuclear power plant, started generating power in December 1991.

The 1990s

16. China Minsheng Banking Corp., established in Beijing on January 12, 1996, was the first national joint-stock commercial bank, primarily held by private enterprises.

17. China's national tax revenue exceeded one trillion yuan (about 146 billion U.S. dollars) for the first time in 1999. China's tax revenue totaled only 2.6 billion yuan at the time of the PRC's founding in 1949.

18. In September 1999, the World Bank group's International Finance Corporation purchased shares in Bank of Shanghai, making it the first city commercial bank partially held by foreign capital.

The 21st century

19. From 2003 to 2005 China absorbed the biggest amount of foreign direct investment, 186.5 billion US dollars, among developing countries.

20. In 2003, China's financial revenue broke the 2 trillion yuan mark. Four years later, the figure exceeded 5 trillion yuan. At the start of reform and opening up in 1978, the revenue amount was only 113 billion yuan.

21. China issued its first red header document on private sector in February 2005, which entitled "Opinions of the State Council on Encouraging, Supporting and Guiding the Development of Individual and Private Economy and Other Non-Public Sectors of the Economy". By the end of 2006, a total of 4.9 million private enterprises made up more than 50 percent of all Chinese enterprises.

22. China Construction Bank, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in October 2005, became the first of the four largest mainland state-owned commercial banks to be listed on HK's stock market. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China listed on both Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the mainland's A-share market in October 2006.

23. Up to December 2005, bank deposit from Chinese urban and rural residents broke the mark of 14 trillion, reaching 14.1051 trillion yuan. It is the third time that the deposit breaks the trillion mark in one year. The deposit surpassed 12 trillion yuan in January of the year, while 13 trillion yuan in May. By the end of 1978, the figure was only 21 billion.

24. China's foreign exchange reserves, the world's largest, passed 1 trillion US dollars at the end of 2006.

25. The Qingzang Railway opened to traffic on July 1, 2006. The railway travels through an 1686-meter long Kunlun Mountain Tunnel, which is the world's longest tunnel through frozen soil. The railway's Tang Gula Station stands as the world's highest railway station at an altitude of 5,068 meters above sea level.

26. The Hangzhouwan Bay sea bridge, the longest sea flyover bridge in the world, opened to traffic on May 1, 2008.

27. In 2002, China's per capita gross national income exceeded 1,000 US dollars for the first time ever since China began its economic reform and opening up in 1978. In just four years after 2002, this figure was more than doubled.

28. On October 15, 2003, a Long March 2F rocket carrying taikonaut Yang Liwei blasted off into space. After a 21-hour odyssey that took Yang Liwei around the world 14 times, he touched down on the grasslands in northern China. Yang's return to Earth marked a triumphant finish of China's maiden space voyage, four decades after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and American astronaut Alan Shepard pioneered manned space flight in 1961.

29. On June 1, 2003, the Three Gorges Reservoir began filling. The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is the largest hydroelectric dam and is more than five times the size of Hoover Dam in the United States. The Three Gorges Dam is also the largest engineering project on earth.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: CRI web edition
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