Friday, August 7, 2015

China urbanization fact of the day

From a Brookings study (pdf here)of 100 largest metropolitan areas in the Asia Pacific region (East Asia, Oceania, western parts of North and South America), this factoid and graphic about China and rest of the world is simply staggering,
Chinese metro areas averaged 11.2 percent annual GDP per capita growth since 2000, compared to just 1.3 percent per year in the rest of the world’s major cities.
As this FT feature, which chronicles the downside of the Chinese urbanization, informs, urban area's share of population surged from about 20% in 1980 to over 50% now, and share of GDP has grown from nearly 70% to more than 90% in the same period.

China's much-discussed quarter century of economic growth in general has been spectacular, but in particular its less discussed urban growth has been unprecedented. The country's sustained and rapid urbanization, managed without much of the problems of unplanned sprawls and slum proliferation that characterize the same in countries like India, should count as arguably its biggest social and political achievement. Unorthodox, 'second-best', instruments like hukou permits, development of satellite townships etc have doubtless played an important role in managing the inevitable externalities and problems associated with rapid urbanization.

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