China Announces City Expansion Plans

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As China’s population nears 1.4 billion, the ruling Communist is looking to see 60% of China’s residents living in urban areas by 2020. Presently, 53.7% of China’s population live in cities and while an increase of 6.3% might seem easy, in China that percentage represents moving roughly 90 million people in six years’ time.

This stands in sharp contrast to the the first and third largest economies in the world. In the United States, 82% of the population lives in cities while in Japan 91% are city denizens according to a joint report in 2012 by the World Bank and Development Research Center of the State Council.

60% urban population is the goal

In order to accomplish this, China will invest more than 1 trillion yuan ($162 billion) in the redeveloping of its “hutongs” or shantytowns. Additionally, China will ease the household registration system that binds people to their hometowns and keeps millions from accessing schools, pensions, and healthcare among other things.

China also announced that it would add more transportation links in the coming years and allow local governments to directly issue bonds to promote urban growth. Presumably, direct bond issuance won’t be without a national watchdog or oversight committee.

Chinese migration into the cities began in earnest in the 1980’s with cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing now sitting up there with the world’s largest.

Sunday’s release of the “National New Type Urbanization Plan” saw the report read, “Domestic demand is the fundamental impetus for China’s development, and the greatest potential for expanding domestic demand lies in urbanization,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

China’s transportation and the environment

The plan also stated that cities of over 200,000 people will all be linked by railway, while cities of over 500,000 will each be linked to a high-speed rail hub.

In a statement that will surely make a number of environmentally concerned and conscious people scoff given China’s extraordinary pollution, the report continued with, “A scientific and reasonable urban development model should be adopted, with green production and consumption becoming the mainstream in urban economic activities. China should strive to push for harmonious and pleasant living conditions.”

By 2030, the report stated that an additional 300 million people will be moved from rural areas into cities. That number represents a goal of essentially moving the entire population of the United States.

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at

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