Among the rural industrialization models that appeared during China’s economic reform era, the three models of “Sunan moshi,” “Wenzhou moshi,” and “Zhujiang moshi” received the most attention. Each of these three models developed distinctively as regional development models in their respective regions based on the region’s political, economical, social, cultural, and historical background, and led the economic development in each region from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. As such, these three models were lauded by many other regions in China and by the academic sphere as a successful development model. However, with the rapid turns in China’s economic environment since the mid 1990s, problems in these models came to the surface and brought widespread criticism as a regional development model. The limitations seen in the three models gave birth to the movement to innovate them, which in turn, led to concepts such as the “new Sunan moshi,” the “new Wenzhou moshi,” and the “new Zhujiang moshi,” collectively referred to as the “xin moshi (new model).”
The purpose of this paper is to reflect on how these three models were replaced by the new development models. In particular, the paper will investigate whether the new models are developing into distinctive models by region like the traditional three models or whether they have converged into a common model. As the co-existence of various ownerships - which can largely be categorized into collective ownership, private ownership, and foreign ownership - at the center of China’s socialist market economy are represented in these three models, the study on the development, reform, and innovation of the three models gives important clues for China’s systemic transformation.