Chongqing(1950s-1960s)/a Multinucleus industrial city, Economic Structure: Heavy Industry and Public Ownership

In the last post I mentioned developing heavy industry clusters, and in this one, I’m going to write on that from the perspective of economic structure.


In ancient history, Chongqing was a commercial city because of its advantaged location and river transport. And in the early 20th century, light industry started to develop under the effect of foreigners. There was no much heavy industry in Chongqing until it became the temporary capital city in world war two. From 1937 to 1945, heavy industry, especially military industry was dramatically developed in Chongqing. That set a very good foundation for the heavy industry clusters’ appearance.


“Developing heavy industry in priority” is a policy of “The General Line in Transition Period” published in 1953. And the government talked about a few reasons for that. Firstly, in the first half of the 20th century, most of China’s industry was light industry, and heavy industry was not developed due to limitations of technology and capital adequacy. The government thought this imbalance needed to be changed. Secondly, the basic economic structure of the communist China is learned for the Soviet Union, and in Soviet Union’s experience is to develop heavy industry first. Thirdly, Since the communist China was in a very bad relationship with most developed countries at that time, and was in a condition of economic blockade. If China wanted to develop its industry in that condition, heavy industry like mining, smelting, and machine manufacturing must go first, and then light industry can be developed.


steelmaking, Chongqing
steelmaking, Chongqing

There were two periods to look at the economic structure of 1950s-1960s, before and after 1953. Before 1953, the main aim of the government was to set a steady order. And in that period the economic structure was not much changed. They started to develop public ownership, but private ownership was still the overwhelming majority. Since 1953, private industry was gradually bought or deprived, and the dominant position of public industry was set.


Diagram showing the change of ownership of business in Chongqing, which is a big support to the industry.
Diagram showing the change of ownership of business in Chongqing before 1953, which is a big support to the industry. On the foundation of business, ownership of industry changed.

Heavy industry and public ownership were the two main characteristic of economic structure in Chongqing of 1950s-1960s, and were also two basic factors of the industrial clusters of Chongqing.

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