There has long been a debate as to whether economic development is best accomplished when led by market forces or when centrally planned and directed. This article looks at an important sector of an economy that has experienced both by examining the introduction of free market retailing into the People's Republic of China. It contrasts the emerging free market retail sector with the state-owned sector in China and with the retail sectors in market-based developing countries. It then discusses the potential effects of free market retailing on China's economic development.
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