In China, lower-tier cities are challenging the dominance of first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai for attracting foreign investment.
Lower-tier cities are continuously announcing business incentives to attract investment and promote hi-tech industries. And China’s next generation of workers are aware of these trends.
Hefei topped the list as most dynamic PRC city, followed by Yangzhou. Both of these cities registered an incredible year-on-year growth based on comparable prices, according to official data.
Shenzhen, third on the list, saw its GDP hit 2.4 trillion yuan, an increase of about 7.5 percent compared with a year earlier. This made it among the top five Asian cities in economic aggregate, said economists. Chengdu and Nantong were in close competition, they also took the lead for growth rates, with both experiencing 8 percent year-on-year growth.
Hefei: Why Anhui capital Provence is beating Shenzhen, Guangzhou for foreign talent
Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui province, took third place behind Shanghai and Beijing when it comes to attracting foreign talent, beating China’s economic front-runners Shenzhen and Guangzhou. According to data, Hefei is the fastest growing city in China, with its GDP rising from RMB 416.4 billion (US$65.9 billion) in 2012 to RMB 721.3 billion (US$106.8 billion) in 2017 – an increase of 73.2 percent.
In 2017, Hefei launched the second comprehensive national science center in China, focusing on research in information technology, energy, health and the environment and seeking breakthroughs in quantum communications, nuclear fusion, smog prevention and cancer treatment.
In June 2018, Hefei announced subsidies of up to RMB 20 million (US$3 million) to eligible newly settled businesses in the circuit and software industries to promote investment in both these sectors. Hefei aims to upgrade and innovate its industries amid China’s continued opening up. While tech companies such as iFlytek and BOE Technology Group establish themselves in the city, the cluster of scientific research venues and hi-tech industries gathers talent in related fields, contributing to Hefei’s appeal for talented foreigners.
Yangzhou: The Garden City
Yangzhou, where Marco Polo once served as a municipal official, ranked as the second fastest growing city. Famous for its beautiful gardens and parks since Ming dynasty, Yangzhou’s GDP rose from RMB 293.3 billion (US$46.4 billion) in 2012 to RMB 506.4 billion (US$75 billion) in 2017, an increase of 72.65 percent.
Situated in the middle part of Jianghuai Plain and on the north bank of lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Yagnzhou vibrant economy, is one of the best locations in China to conduct business. Traditionally, the dominant industries in Yangzhou have been automobile, machinery, tourism, software, and food processing.
In 2017, the city released plans to strengthen strategic emerging industries such as new energy, new medicine, novel materials, energy conservation, high-end manufacturing, information technology, and biotechnology. Yangzhou is also the only city in Jiangsu province to be awarded “pioneer” status as a result of its support for small and micro-enterprises.
The objective is to generate an output value of RMB 700 billion (US$105.6 billion) from these industries by 2020. In April 2018, the government announced generous incentives to attract high-end professionals, including a monthly rental allowance of up to RMB 3,000 (US$452.10) and a one-time housing subsidy worth up to RMB 2 million (US$ 301,390).
Shenzhen still Leading Hi-tech Revolution
Shenzhen is the only first tier city that continues to expand at a country-leading pace. 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.
The city has seen GDP growth of 72.1 percent from 2012 to 2017, rising from RMB 1,295 billion (US$205.1 billion) to RMB 2,228.6 billion (US$330.1 billion). For the first time, Shenzhen has overtaken Guangzhou to become the city with the third-highest GDP in mainland China in 2017, behind only Shanghai and Beijing.
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.
Chengdu, not only pandas and spicy food
Thanks to a relevant position within the new Silk Road routes, Chengdu took up the Made in China 2025 challenge with amazing successes. While PRC is preparing for its leadership role in the field of innovation, the “panda town” is growing as a new global hi-tech hub.
This heavenly land has found success in the thriving Chinese luxury market and it is now considered the third largest luxury market in China, after Beijing and Shanghai. However, behind the loud Louis Vuitton and Cartier’s signs, an emerging market made the city of abundance essential for the Chinese economy: the hi-tech market.
With the aim of becoming a technology hub and the goal of attracting global talents and enterprises, the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone (CHIDZ) established in 1988, actually ranks the 4th among all China’s state-level high-tech zones. This high-tech development area has promoted countless Chinese technology companies to help them enter the international arena.
Half of the laptop chips and two-thirds of all iPads are produced in Chengdu, whose IT industry has generated 480billion yuan in revenue just last year. According to the city’s expectations, this figure will reach 1trillion yuan by 2020. Chengdu’s GDP has already surpassed $160 billion last year, with an increase of 7.7% from the previous year.
Nantong: A Second Shanghai in the North of the Yangtze River
Nantong is located at the confluence of golden sea bank and golden waterway in the east of China. Facing the vast expense of Pacific, Nantong and international city Shanghai face each other across the Yangtze River. Nantong’s GDP grew from RMB 455.8 billion (US$ 72.2 billion) in 2012 to RMB 773.4 billion (US$ 114.5 billion) in 2017, representing a growth rate of 69.67 percent.
In 1984, Nantong became one of first 14 coastal cities in China that were open to the outside world. Nantong’s economy develops rapidly. Its growth rate has been topped in Jiangsu province and the Yangtze River Delta for three successive years, thus, Nantong was one of the birth places of our modern national industries, entitled as a “Pioneer City of Modern China”.
The major geographical strength of Nantong is its direct link to Shanghai. By integrating and collaborating with Shanghai’s capital, technology, and human resources, Nantong aims to become the economic and transportation hub of the north wing of the Yangtze River Delta. The two cities complement each other: Nantong utilizes Shanghai’s resources to accelerate industry innovation and transformation; while Shanghai expands its market share and advances industry development through Nantong.
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