Ranking of China’s 10 Largest Metropolitan Areas

From urbanization to urban agglomerations, metropolitan areas are the “hardcore” of urban agglomerations. The “National New Urbanization Plan (2014-2020)” establishes urban agglomerations as the main form of new urbanization, and plans to build 19 urban agglomerations. However, the development of most urban agglomerations in my country is not yet mature. The cultivation of metropolitan areas is from urbanization to The middle stage of urban agglomeration. For example, Guangdong divides the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration into three metropolitan areas: Guangfo Zhao, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hui, and Pearl River Delta to promote the integration of the Pearl River Delta. The construction of the metropolitan area takes the same city as the direction, creating a one-hour commuting circle, and the small and medium-sized cities in the circle will benefit. The metropolitan area will promote the complementary functions of cities, the dislocation of industries, and promote the co-construction and sharing of public services and policy coordination.

Population and industries will continue to gather in the metropolitan area. The basic logic of population migration is that people go with industry and people go to higher places. Population migration in developed countries generally goes through two stages: from urbanization to urbanization with large cities as the core. Metropolitan areas of developed economies such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, etc. have attracted continued population inflows until the economy-population ratio drops to around 1 and maintains a dynamic balance. China’s population and industries continue to gather in the metropolitan area, and the proportion of the population in the metropolitan area will continue to increase in the future. The population of 24 Chinese metropolitan areas with a population of 10 million or more continued to flow in as a whole, and the economy-population ratio was still as high as 1.55 in 2018, indicating that it will continue to attract population inflows.

In 2019, the development potential of Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hui, and Guangfo-Zhaozhou metropolitan areas are the top ones, followed by cities such as Suzhou, Wuxi, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Changzhutan. The population growth of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Huizhou, and Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing has led the country in recent years. The average annual increase in permanent population from 2015 to 2018 was as high as 610,000 and 600,000 respectively. Metropolitan areas such as Hangzhou, Chongqing, Changsha-Zhutan, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Wuhan, and Chengdu also increased significantly, except for the Shanghai metropolitan area, which was mainly contributed by central cities. The economic scale of the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta region, and the Beijing metropolitan area is among the top, and the industrial innovation strength is leading. The Shanghai metropolitan area has a GDP of 9.1 trillion yuan; the industrial innovation of the Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen-Dongguan-hui metropolitan area has an absolute advantage, and the total number of A+H-share listed companies and the number of invention patents granted to account for 38% and 37% of the country respectively.

Classification of metropolitan areas: advanced type optimizes functional layout, rising type strengthens integrated construction, and starting type strengthens economic strength. According to the economic and industrial strength of the metropolitan area and the driving effect of the central cities in the area on the surrounding cities, the 24 tens of millions of metropolitan areas are divided into three types: developed, rising, and start-up. The overall economic level of the developed metropolitan area is leading, and the gap between the central city and some surrounding cities has begun to shrink significantly. The overall economic strength of the emerging metropolitan area is relatively strong, but the development of the surrounding cities by the central city is still insufficient. The overall economic strength of the start-up metropolitan area is not strong enough, and the economic connection between the central city and the surrounding cities is weak. Six metropolitan areas such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guanhui, Guangfo Zhao, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, and Hangzhou are developed, while 15 metropolitan areas including Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu, Changsha-Zhutan, and Chongqing are emerging types. Harbin, Nanchang, Three metropolitan areas, including Changji, are start-ups.

Shanghai Metropolitan Area

No.1 Shanghai Metropolitan Area: The “strong core” of the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration, radiating the surrounding metropolitan area.

1) The Shanghai metropolitan area has a GDP of 9.1 trillion yuan in 2018, which is higher than the nine cities in the Pearl River Delta. The industry is basically optimized with the idea of ​​”R&D in Shanghai and production outside”.

2) From “one core, five circles, and four belts” to the Shanghai metropolitan area, it is to give full play to the role of Shanghai as a central city and create a “strong core” of the Yangtze River Delta city cluster, radiating the surrounding metropolitan area. The Shanghai metropolitan area includes Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou, most of the Ningbo metropolitan area, and Jiaxing and Huzhou in the Hangzhou metropolitan area.

3) The Shanghai metropolitan area actively breaks down the barriers of administrative divisions and builds a multi-level rail transit of “trunk + intercity + municipal area + urban rail”, laying the foundation for an integrated metropolitan area.

Beijing Metropolitan Area

No.2 Beijing Metropolitan Area: From the single center to the relief of non-capital functions, the Beisan County is expected to be included in Beijing?

1) Resolve Beijing’s non-capital functions, and transform from single-center radiation spreading pie type to a compact and intensive multi-group structure. The Beijing metropolitan area can be roughly divided into three layers of gradient radiation: one is the six districts of the central city, the other is the city’s sub-centers and multiple new cities in the new urban development area, and the third is the ecological conservation area and the surrounding Beijing east and south of Beijing. area.

2) Beijing is a cluster of high-tech industries represented by technological innovation and modern service industries, but the problem of job-living balance is most prominent in the country.

3) Insufficient industries and low commuting efficiency in the surrounding areas need to make up for the shortcomings. The “Four Unifications” of the three northern counties of Langfang and Tongzhou, the city’s sub-center of Beijing, is coordinating the development.

Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou Metropolitan Area

No.3 Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou Metropolitan Area: An entrepreneurial paradise for young immigrants. Could Shenzhen, a large economic city and a small land city, merge with Dongguan?

1) The population and economy of the Shenzhen-Dongguan-Hui metropolitan area are growing rapidly, and the industries of “front shops and back factories” have shifted in tiers, making it a paradise for young immigrants.

2) The Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou Economic Circle (3+2) mechanism promotes the integrated development of Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou, and the integration of “enclave economy” and rail transit enhances Shenzhen’s radiation driving ability.

3) Shenzhen is a city with a large economic population and a small land area. The area of ​​the city is only 1997 square kilometers, which is 1/8, 1/3, and 1/4 of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou respectively. The lack of development space can be solved through the adjustment of administrative divisions. The possibility exists for a long time, but it is subject to the overall development of Guangdong Province.

Guang fo Zhao Metropolitan Area

No.4 Guangfo Zhao Metropolitan Area: The modern manufacturing center of the Greater Bay Area, the same city of Guangfo.

1) The economic aggregates of the two cities of Guangzhou and Foshan are equal to that of Shenzhen and Dongguan, focusing on the innovative industries and advanced manufacturing of “IAB (New Generation Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Biomedicine) + NEM (New Energy, New Materials)” respectively. Zhaoqing will undertake Guangfo Industrial Transfer.

2) From the same city of Guangfo to the economic circle of Guangfo Zhaoqing, it will take time for Zhaoqing to integrate with Guangfo. Zhaoqing’s GDP in 2018 was 220.2 billion yuan, 1/10 that of Guangzhou; GDP per capita was only 35% of Guangzhou and 42% of Foshan.

3) The same city of Guangfo has been basically realized, and the cost of living and industrial transfer has given rise to a large number of demand for commuting across cities. In July 2018, the number of inter-city job-residents in the four cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, and Zhaoqing was as high as 744,100, of which the cross-city of Guangzhou and Foshan accounted for 60.6% of the total scale of the four cities.


No.5 Nanjing Metropolitan Area: The economy is strong in the east and weak in the west, and cities in eastern Anhui benefit.

1) The economy of the Nanjing Metropolitan Area is strong in the east and weak in the west. Nanjing leads the three-level echelon of the industrial chain from high to low. Nanjing’s GDP in 2018 is 1.3 trillion yuan; Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Huai’an, and Wuhu are all between 300 and 600 billion yuan to build advanced manufacturing centers; Ma’anshan, Chuzhou, and Xuancheng are all below 200 billion yuan, mainly undertaking eastern industries Transfer.

2) The Nanjing Metropolitan Area is the first planned inter-provincial metropolitan area in my country. The cities in eastern Anhui benefit from the development of the same city as Nanjing. The distance between Nanjing and the four Anhui cities in the metropolitan area is closer than that of Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province.

3) The forward-looking layout of the rail transit system in the Nanjing Metropolitan Area, together with highways, airports, and ports, will create a comprehensive transportation hub demonstration area.


No.6 Chengdu Metropolitan Area: A country of abundance that is indispensable in Sichuan, Chengdu has a high degree of population and economic agglomeration, and the surrounding area has a low urbanization rate and large space.

1) Chengdu is still in the stage of becoming bigger and stronger and attracting surrounding resources, with a high degree of population economic agglomeration. In 2018, Chengdu’s permanent population accounted for 61% of the 5 cities in the metropolitan area, and its GDP accounted for 75% in 2018. The number of listed companies with A+H shares and the number of authorized invention patents accounted for 94% and 93% respectively.

2) The urbanization rate of the 4 cities around Chengdu is relatively low, and the urbanization space is large. It is expected to develop in the same city as Chengdu in the future. The urbanization rates of Deyang, Meishan, Ziyang, and Ya’an were all between 41%-51% in 2017, which is far lower than the national average of 58.5%. The urbanization potential of the population in the metropolitan area is great.

3) The high-speed rail between Chengdu and the surrounding cities is between half an hour and one hour. In the future, it is expected to form an intercity railway loop, but the current traffic connectivity still needs to be improved.

Hangzhou Metropolitan Area

No.7 Hangzhou Metropolitan Area: Private economic paradise, Internet economic highland, the westward expansion of the hinterland.

1) Hangzhou Metropolitan Area, Hangzhou, Jiaxing, and Shaosi has a developed private economy and a leading Internet economy. New members, Quzhou and Huangshan, are expected to undertake related industries.

2) The east side of the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area lacks development space and the westward expansion of the economic hinterland. Facing the squeeze of the Shanghai metropolitan area and the competition from the Nanjing metropolitan area, the Hangzhou metropolitan area chose to move westward, and Quzhou and Huangshan formally “entered the area.” Xuancheng, Shangrao, and Jingdezhen are also candidate cities. The circle encompasses.

3) The four cities of Hangzhou, Jiaxing, and Shaoxing have realized the “half-hour high-speed rail circle” and the “1-hour traffic circle”. The high-speed rail will help Quzhou and Huangshan integrate into the metropolitan circle.


No.8 Chongqing Metropolitan Area: Inland open highlands, the population growth rate of the new district is close to that of the main urban area, and the industry is homogenized and innovation is insufficient.

1) The Chongqing Metropolitan Area gathers 65% of the population with 35% of Chongqing’s area and creates 72% of GDP. Both the main urban area and the new urban development area have strong population industrial agglomeration capabilities. The average annual growth rate of the permanent population in the new urban development area from 2011 to 2017 was 1.9%, which was close to 2.1% in the main urban area.

2) The Chongqing metropolitan area is an open highland in the inland area, and its shortcomings are the homogeneity of industries and insufficient innovation capabilities. There is homogeneous competition within the high-end development platform system of Chongqing, Chengdu, and Chongqing.

3) The level of rail transit interconnection in the Chongqing metropolitan area needs to be improved urgently. At present, the urban railway is far from meeting the commuting needs of the main urban area and the periphery.


No.9 Wuhan Metropolitan Area: “Circle” shrinks and becomes more pragmatic, and the industrial chain extends outward.

1) From the “1+8” Wuhan city circle with a radius of 150 kilometers to the Wuhan metropolitan area with a radius of 80 kilometers, the planning of a smaller metropolitan area is more feasible.

2) Wuhan’s industrial chain extends to surrounding cities along the development corridors of Wu’ehuanghuang, Wuxian, Wuxian, and Hanxiao to improve the functional layout and industrial system of the metropolitan area.

3) The construction of high-speed rail and Ezhou Airport will strengthen the water, land, and air transportation hubs, and the intercity railway network will connect the Wuhan metropolitan area.


No.10 Chang-Zhu-Tan Metropolitan Area: The central part is rising, the urban areas are adjacent, and the “half-hour traffic circle” is integrated and developed.

1) The three cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou, and Tan are highly complementary to each other and have a good momentum of industrial synergy. They are one of the important strategic pivots for the rise of Central China. The three cities jointly own the Chang-Zhu-Tan “Two-Oriented Society” Comprehensive Supporting Reform Pilot Zone, Chang-Zhu-Tan National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone, and other national policy platforms.

2) The urban area of ​​the three cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou, and Tan is no more than 40 kilometers away. The integration is geographically convenient, and the call for the merger has never ceased. In recent years, the proposal of Chang-Zhu-Tan merger to apply for the national central city has spread widely, but the possibility of realization is extremely small.

3) The high-speed rail, intercity railway, expressway, and urban arterial roads are connected together to form the “half-hour traffic circle” of the Chang-Zhu-Tan Metropolitan Circle.


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