China’s Top 5 Cities with Highest GDP in 2018


Shanghai and Beijing topped the list, but new cluster such as Chongqing lead also growth race. Shenzhen confirmed its position as PRC’s Silicon Valley


China has the second largest economy by nominal GDP and the largest economy by PPP in the world. According to statistics, Shanghai topped the list for total GDP among Chinese cities at $486 billion in 2018, followed by Beijing. The capital for the first time saw its GDP surpass 3 trillion yuan to 3.03 trillion yuan (almost $478 billion). Both of these cities registered 6.6 percent year-on-year growth based on comparable prices, according to official data.

Guangdong province’s two top performers – Shenzhen and Guangzhou – saw GDP growth of 7.5 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. This was the second consecutive year that Shenzhen outperformed Guangzhou in terms of GDP. Shenzhen, third on the list, saw its GDP hit 2.4 trillion yuan and confirmed itself as China’s Silicon Valley. Check out the country’s best performers below.

1. Shanghai

Chinese consumption slowdown - shanghai skyline - cifnews

Shanghai, 上海 (literally “city by the sea”) recorded an increase of 6.6% GDP in 2018, a better performance than expected thanks to the recovery of industrial production and the continuous growth of the services sector. This is according to the statistical and development and reform authorities of the city.

The city has always been one of the most important economic centers in China. Located on the Yangtze River Delta between two of China’s richest and most productive regions, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, Shanghai has developed a true ecosystem of entrepreneurship.


2. Beijing

40 years of reforms - forbidden city - beijing - cifnews

Beijing has now joined Shanghai in the RMB3 trillion GDP club. This year the “northen capital” reported a 3.03 trillion yuan GDP. The northern district of Beijing, Haidian, is home to the Silicon Valley of the north. Flanked by tall skyscrapers inhabited by Stone Group, Lenovo, and Baidu, this region is attracting still more hi-tech companies including Intel, Oracle, and Sony. Microsoft built a US$280 million research lab with over 5,000 employees in Beijing, and even Google has inaugurated a research lab with the support of the city government.

Perhaps most exciting of all for foreigners looking to get a piece of China’s tech innovation is the inception of the ten-year working visa. Beijing is preparing to welcome those skilled professionals fleeing other countries who are highly qualified in their fields.


3. Shenzhen

Shenzhen – the fishing village turned megalopolis of China’s South – is home to tech manufacturing, automation, and the robots that will fill tomorrow’s factories. Today this city is one of the most important Chinese Silicon Valleys. But today this metropolis is also PRC greenest city.

With a multi-billion dollar national budget, the city targeted an ambitious 50% reduction in heavy air pollution days within five years (2020). But how Shenzhen became China’s most sustainable city? First the metropolis made global headlines for being the first major city in the world to roll out an all-electric public bus fleet –  all 16,000 of them. Currently, about 80 percent of all Shenzhen’s taxis are electric and the city plans to electrify all its taxis by 2020.


4. Guangzhou

Greater Bay Area has three growth poles, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, with advantages in scientific innovation, trade, logistics, finance and services, and it also covers cities with strong manufacturing power in the Pearl River Delta. With 2.4 trillion yuan GDP and growth rate around 6.5%, today Guangzhou is driving Greater Bay Area development and according to economists, Greater Bay Area is expected to be the largest economy among global bay areas by 2020.

Approved by the State Council in 1984, Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development District was one of the first national economic development zones in China and the comprehensive strength of Guangzhou Development District has been ranked top three in the country over the past 30 years.


5.  Chongqing

e-tourism in china - chongqing - cifnews

A double-digit GDP and future prospects abroad. Chongqing represents the new frontier of a China in continuous transformation. As a dynamic production cluster, they are China’s gateway to the West – the privileged corridor of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Chongqing is one of the main ports of the Yangtze River in southwest China. It’s quickly becoming one of the fastest developing areas of the country. With 2.04 trillion yuan GDP, Chongqing is driving the economic growth of central China, with a double-digit expansion in 2018. Last year, it also recorded 6% growth, according to data.

Chongqing was the capital of the Republic of China for a short period during the 40s, and together with Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin, it is one of the Four Autonomous Municipalities of the country. The Chinese leadership plan for the city was clear from then on: to transform the city into the economic heart of central China.



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