The rural market in China is not only the venue where 60 per cent of the country's 1.3 billion inhabitants buy their daily necessities and sell agricultural products, but also a key area of conflict between government control and liberalization policies. Previous research on the topic has adopted a purely economic perspective, focusing on macro issues such as price control and grain procurement. This book focuses instead on peasants - the major participants in rural marketing activities. Illustrated by two comparative case studies with a diverse level of development from the Pearl River Delta - one of the most prosperous regions in coastal China - this book investigates the market hierarchy, its change of functions and the interactions between peasants and market outlets. In doing so, it shows how China's rural market district has changed since the Reform, and how these changes affect the marketing activities of peasants.
Contents: Marketplace, geography and space; China's rural market district: the central place theory and Skinner; China's rural market development since 1979: has the traditional market system been revived?; Local market pattern and hierarchy: case studies of Deqing and Dongguan; Beyond the preoccupation of transport: economic factors and their impact on China's rural market development; Invisible hand versus invisible wall: administrative parameters and rural market development; Deqing, Dongguan and spatial variations; Skinner, rural market development and economic reform: a conclusion; Appendix; References; Index.