Chinese economic reforms have profoundly changed the scale at which things get done. Much of the existing literature on scale has concentrated on the politics of rescaling from above. Less has been written about rescaling initiatives from below, the focus of this study. It distinguishes three important localisms. Local capitalisms treats capitalism as subordinate to local social and political processes that provide crucial conditions of existence. Local citizenship sees processes of entitlement and exclusion as accomplished locally rather than through national frameworks. Translocality describes the ways in which claims are made on the loyalties of those possessing capital but residing elsewhere and the promotion of the place through image-building and physical/social infrastructural enhancements. These three distinct localisms overlap and interact in a variety of ways to shape a new social and spatial order in post-reform China. A detailed study of the practices of localism in the Dongguan city-region reveals the ways in which the emergence of capitalism has been dependent on pre-existing social connections and based on villages and townships. The entitlements of citizenship are polarized between the local hukou population and the migrant workers irrespective of the national definition of social safety net and regardless of the physical presence of the individuals.