China Tops the List for Fastest Growing Cities

Large Chinese metro areas experienced an 88.1 per cent growth in employment while the rest of the country lost 11.5 per cent of its workers, the report said
China Tops the List for Fastest Growing Cities
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Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific
3 min read

One of the key drivers of a country’s economic growth are the big cities that create innovation hubs and generate a fair amount of national wealth.

According to a recent report by the Brookings Institution, an American research group, between 2014 and 2016, metro areas in China and emerging Asia-Pacific nations including countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, experienced the fastest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth.

In the report, the regional perspective shows how large metro areas in China performed compared to the rest of their regions, which consist of mid-sized and smaller cities plus rural areas. This required a longer time horizon, that is, 2000 to 2016, to examine how the economic growth trajectories of large metro areas and the rest of their regions are diverging, converging, or holding steady.

China’s Steady Employment Growth

During the six-year period, the employment growth in large metro areas has been stronger in every region. In China, for instance, the pattern is particularly striking. Large Chinese metro areas experienced an 88.1 per cent growth in employment while the rest of the country lost 11.5 per cent of its workers, exemplifying the robust growth in the nation’s large metro areas and the significant workforce migration from rural areas and smaller towns to large metro areas.

Millennials need opportunities for profitable employment and this positive demographic growth could be advantageous for China's job market. In a 2016 LinkedIn report, Wang Di, vice-president of LinkedIn China, said young people in China have more opportunities to be promoted because of the rapid development of the economy and new industries over the past decade.

A Clear Winner

The report titled ‘Global Metro Monitor 2018’ finds that no country has more representation than China, where the 103 metro areas in this study continue to propel growth. To conclude this, the Metro Monitor analyses how GDP per capita and other measures of economic activity vary between cities and their surrounding areas in different regions of the world.

As per the report, within China, the 21 metro areas that landed in the top five of the distribution in terms of economic performance were located in the central industrial basin or the highly urbanized coastal regions.

Zunyi and Guiyang Driving Economy

Most large metro areas exceeded the country’s low employment growth (0.2 per cent) and 10 of these metro areas expanded employment at more than four percentage points faster than the country. Eight metro areas grew their GDP per capita by more than two percentage points above the country’s already high GDP per capita growth (6.3per cent).

Though not in the top quintile of performance, Zunyi and Guiyang of Southwest China's Guizhou province had the nation’s highest GDP per capita growth, 11.1 and 10.2 per cent, respectively. What worked in favour was the preferential status in China’s economic planning with large investments in infrastructure and industrial development.

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