Since the early reform days and particularly during the Hu-Wen era, the local state has seen remarkable changes triggered by the central government s new focus on rural development and rural-urban integration The ＂peasant burden＂ was reduced by the tax-for-free reforms in 2002 and the abolition of the agricultural tax in 2006. Fiscal transfers were increased to provide more funding for local governments in order to ensure reasonable public goods provision as well as investment in agricultural modernization and in situ urbanization. At the same time, the performance evaluation of local cadres and government units has been streamlined to enforce stricter compliance with upper level policy guidelines and local governments have been systematically encouraged to engage in policy experimentation and innovation by linking policy success to cadre promotion. However, the local state, at all levels, is still struggling with ＂un(der)-funded＂ mandates, rising public demand and, as often reported, social protest. Against this background, this article argues that the concept of local developmentalism can still serve as a useful analytical tool to explain state-business relations at county level and below. The local state has maintained its control over private sector development and entrepreneurial agency by becoming an ＂interested facilitator＂ and ＂enabler＂ by withdrawing from its position as bureaucratic patron, cadre entrepreneur and corporate agent.