The sun rises over Zhongshan Square in Dalian, Liaoning province, China. At various points in its history, the British Empire, Japan, Russia, and later the Soviet Union each vied for control of this peninsular port on the Yellow Sea. In 1984, Dalian became China’s first designated special economic zone to cater to international investment. The policy paid off through the 1990s, which saw marked growth. Today, firms in Dalian compete with India for outsourced jobs, and Intel chose the city as the site of its first chip factory in Asia. In June, Nissan announced it would open a new plant in Dalian. In fact, the city’s economic ventures have been so successful that now Dalian-based companies are emerging as international investors, among them Wanda Group, which this year bought the second-largest North American movie-theater chain. All that growth arguably hasn’t come at the expense of quality of life; in 2006, a Beijing polling group found Dalian the city “most suitable” for living in China, and the World Economic Forum chose to meet there in 2011.

Image: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg
Caption: Foreign Policy

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