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China: Sideline Production
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Agriculture > Production > Sideline Production


In addition to improving the principal yield of agricultural units, the post-Mao economic reforms greatly stimulated sideline production in rural areas. Before 1984 sideline production generated by production brigades, production teams, and households included hunting, fishing, collecting wild herbs, and producing family handicrafts, as well as various kinds of industry, commerce, transportation, and services. Sideline industrial output included fertilizer, farm machinery, textiles, bricks, electrical appliances, and various consumer goods. Sideline industrial activities also included processing cotton, grain, and oilseeds; mining coal, iron ore, and gold; and dredging gravel and sand. Among the services included in sideline output were barbering, entertainment, and catering. As part of the sideline economy, rural entities transported people and goods and operated retail stores; rural construction groups built dams, factory sites, roads, and houses. Of all kinds of sideline production, the state counted only the industrial output of enterprises operated by counties and communes in its total industrial output.

Output rose so rapidly that by 1985 the value of production generated in sidelines exceeded the value of principal crop and livestock production. To make the gross value of agricultural output more realistically represent agricultural production, statisticians in 1985 limited sideline production to hunting and fishing, collecting wild herbs, and producing family handicrafts. After 1985, therefore, there were at least three aggregate measures of economic performance: gross value of output; gross value of agricultural output (crops, livestock, forestry, aquatic, and sideline); and gross value of rural society, which included the gross value of agricultural output plus the value of rural industrial, transportation, construction, and other output.

Data as of July 1987

Last Updated: July 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for China was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

China Main Page Country Studies Main Page

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