In September 1978 the first enterprise of Processing, Assembling and Compensation Trade in China, Taiping Handbag Factory, began in Dongguan. Since then， with Processing and Assembly with Supplied Materials and Parts or Compensation Trade as the starting point， Dongguan has been actively implementing the outward-oriented driving strategy to develop an export-based economy and to promote the industrialization of rural areas with great efforts. The modern manufacturing industry and new hi-tech industries with IT industry as its cornerstone in Dongguan has been growing ceaselessly and the export-oriented economy has been developing and expanding continuously. By the end of 2007 investors from over 30 countries and regions had been attracted to invest in Dongguan and the total utilized foreign capitals reached US$38 billion (foreign loans included). From the perspective of country and region distribution， it can be found that investments from Hong Kong accounted for 53.96% of the total, Taiwan 28.25%, Japan 5.70%, Korea 1.25%, and America 1.71%. Over 15,000 foreign ventures have established branches in Dongguan, among which there are 7 ranking in the World Top 100 (list of 2007), 50 enterprises and 90 projects ranking in the World Top 500 utilizing US$2.79 billion of foreign capital, and more than 800 enterprises are listed overseas.
Export Trade: The total import and export value in 2007 reached US$106,873 million. The total export value in 2007 increased to 27.1% to US$60,232 million. This ranks at 4th place in the entire country and 2nd place in Guangdong Province. The import and export value of processing trade was US$95,321 million, accounting for 89.19% of the total import and export value. The normal export value was US$3.579 billion with an increase of 34.6%.
Utilization of Foreign Capital:According to the new statistic scope, there are 708 newly signed programs of foreign investments and the contracted foreign capital amount is US$3.126 billion (capital plus and less included), an increase of 25.78%. The actualized foreign capital amount is US$2.117 billion, an increase of 17.12% from the previous year. The manufacturing industry was consolidated and optimized in the process of absorbing foreign capital with the electrical and IT industry utilized contractual foreign capital of US$869 million, an increase of 4.07% and accounting for 27.81% of the total contractual capital utilized in the entire city. The modern service industry has grown rapidly and utilized contractual foreign capital of US$276 million, an increase of 118.5% from the previous period.