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Beginning in the early twentieth century, Shanghai has been a magnet for foreign financial interests for almost a century – an interregnum of a few decades of staunch Stalinist policies notwithstanding. This continued interest has largely been the driving force for the development of the region over the past three decades.
In 1990s, the Chinese government opened the Pudong district of Shanghai to overseas investment, as well as additional cities along the Yangtze River valley. Since then, the Yangtze River delta has become one of China’s key economic regions. It consists mainly of 15 cities, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Zhenjiang and Wuxi, although its scope has recently been widened to include Taizhou City in Zhejiang Province. Yancheng, Huai'an and Ma'anshan cities in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces are also likely to join the economic grouping.