As part of its economic reforms and policy of opening to the world, between 1980 and 1984 China established special economic zones (SEZs) in Shantou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province and designated the entire island province of Hainan a special economic zone.
In 1984 China opened 14 other coastal cities to overseas investment (listed north to south): Dalian, Qinhuangdao, Tianjin, Yantai, Qingdao, Lianyungang, Nantong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Zhanjiang, and Beihai. Then, beginning in 1985, the central government expanded the coastal area by establishing the following open economic zones (listed north to south): Liaodong Peninsula, Hebei Province (which surrounds Beijing and Tianjin), Shandong Peninsula, Yangzi River Delta, Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou Triangle in southern Fujian Province, Zhujiang (Pearl River) Delta, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
In 1990 the Chinese government decided to open the Pudong New Zone in Shanghai to overseas investment, as well as more cities in the Yangzi River Valley. Since 1992 the State Council has opened a number of border cities and all the capital cities of inland provinces and autonomous regions. In addition, 15 free-trade zones, 32 state-level economic and technological development zones, and 53 new- and high-tech industrial development zones have been established in large and medium-sized cities. As a result, a multilevel diversified pattern of opening and integrating coastal areas with river, border, and inland areas has been formed in China.