12 cities with GDP as large as 12 top leading countries (part 2)

These 12 Chinese cities have economies as big as whole countries. In part 1 we looked at Xi’an, Qingdao, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan. Let’s see which cities are in the top part of the ranking.

No. 6. Hong Kong estimated GDP 400 Billion USD per year equal to Norway

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is an autonomous territory in China. With around 7.2 million people of various nationalities in a territory of 1,100 km it is the most densely populated place not only in China but in the world. Hong Kong used to be a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island from the Qing Empire after the First Opium War (1839–1842). Hong Kong was occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945.  The Sino-British Joint Declaration signed between the United Kingdom and China in 1984 paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong is one of the world’s most significant financial centers, with the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranks as the world’s most competitive and freest economic entity. Known to be “Asia’s World City”, Hong Kong is the world’s most popular international traveler destination, and the home to the world’s most frequently travelled citizens. Nicknamed “Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong has a harbor named Victoria Harbour, and it features the most skyscrapers in the world. It has a very high Human Development Index ranking and one of the world’s longest life expectancy.

No. 5. Chongqing estimated GDP 425 Billion USD per year equal to Thailand

With population of more than 30 million Chongqin is the most populated city in Chnia. Previous prime minister of China Deng Xiaoping, was born in Chongqing and initiated open door policies with the direct-controlled municipality of Chongqing, roughly the size of Hungary. Administratively, it is one of China’s direct-controlled municipalities  and the only  located far away from the coast. Part of West Triangle Economic Zone is an economic zone designated by the Chinese government comprising Chengdu, Chongqing, and Xi’an. Created as part of the China Western Development strategy, the zone contributes nearly 40% of Western China’s GDP. A large central business district is being constructed in the center of the city of Chongqing, in Jiangbeizui CBD, with high-rise skyscrapers, due to be completed in 2018. Jiangbeizui CBD aims to attract financial institutions, making it a financial center in the future. Another major developments are Chongqing Economics and Technological Development Zone, Chongqing High-Tech Industrial Development Zone and Chongqing Export Processing Trade Zone, in addition The Three Gorges Dam is a major source of hydroelectric power in the region. As many other big cities in China, Chongqing is also major transportation hub. The official abbreviation of the city is Yu 渝.

No. 4. Shenzhen estimated 500 Billion USD per year equal to Sweden

With population of 12 million Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China. The city is located in immediately north of Hong Kong. The city started as farming and fishing village with 30 000 people in the 1979 and turned into one of China’s largest cities and one of the richest city in less than three decades. Much of the development was the result of foreign investment. Shenzhen was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world during the the 2000s. It is famous with is vast parks and green areas, also with is tropical climate weather. Very clean and organised city play the role of gateway between China mainland and Hong Kong. Major financial center and home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous home grown multinational well-known companies such as Vanke, JXD, Hytera, CIMC, Shenzhen Airlines, Nepstar, Hasee, Ping An Bank, Ping An Insurance, China Merchants Bank, Tencent, ZTE, Huawei and BYD. Shenzhen ranks 22nd in the 2017 edition of the Global Financial Centers Index published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority. It also has one of the busiest container ports in the world. Ping an IFC in Shenzhen is the world’s 4th tallest building and China’s second-tallest. The skyscraper has a magnificent observation deck at 550.It also has the world’s second-highest luxury hotel.

No. 3. Guangzhou estimated GDP 650 Billion USD  per year equal to Argentina

With population of 14 million Guangzhou or also known as Canton is one of the cities with the best preserved and the most beautifully decorated ancient architectures in China. Located in the heart of China, Guangzhou is a major port city and the capital of Guangdong Province. The city is also referred to as by a common name, the “City of Flowers.” The city’s beauty personifies with this name as it is covered with evergreen plants and flowers blooming all year long. Guangzhou was once a part of the “Maritime Silk Road” that linked southern China to India. Chairman Mao Once Lived in Guangzhou more commonly associated with Beijing (where you can still catch a glimpse of him in his mausoleum) and Hunan, his home province, Chairman Mao once lived in Guangzhou during the 1920s. Guangzhou has more tea houses and restaurants than any other city in China . This makes sense since the city is famous for its delicious Cantonese cuisine. In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing number of foreign residents and immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as from Africa. This has led to it being dubbed the “Capital of the Third World”.  The migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40 percent of the city’s total population in 2008. Together with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, Guangzhou has one of the most expensive real estate in China. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.  

 2.Beijing estimated GDP 860 Billion USD per year equal to Switzerland

With population of 22 million Beijing formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. As a city combining both modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is an ever-changing megacity rich in history but also truly modern, exemplified in its global influence. The city’s history dates back three millennia. People have been living in the Beijing area since prehistoric times. Back in the 1920s, anthropologists found Homo erectus fossils just outside the city. The fossils were dubbed “Peking man.” Mandarin is China’s official language. It is derived from the Beijing dialect. Beijing is home to the world’s longest wall. The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world. Beijing’s Forbidden City is the largest palace in the world It’s no secret that the Chinese love their bicycles, which is why once you get to Beijing, you will see thousands of cyclists on the roads, thanks also to newly developed mobile bike rent applications. Mobike app is a bicycle-sharing system headquartered in Beijing. It is the world’s largest bicycle operator In June 2017, Mobike raised $600 million in Series E funding led by Tencent, bringing the firm’s fund raising in 2017 alone to nearly US$1 billion. In the same month, the company is valued at US$3 billion. Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, making it the first city to ever host both Winter and Summer Olympics. Many of Beijing’s 91 universities consistently rank among the best in China, of which Peking University and Tsinghua University are ranked in the top 60 universities of the world. In 2015, 52 companies of the Fortune Global 500 company headquarters were located in Beijing, more than any other city in the world.  Beijing CBD is quickly becoming the center for Beijing’s economic expansion, rapid modernisation, and radically changing skyline, with the ongoing or recently completed construction of multiple skyscrapers. Beijing’s Zhongguancun area is also known as China’s Silicon Valley and China’s center of innovation and technology entrepreneurship. Beijing is, obviously, the best place to try the famous Beijing or Peking duck and as international capital has wide variety of restaurants offering high level of international cuisines.  

No. 1. Shanghai 1 Trillion USD per year equal to The Netherlands.

Shanghai with population of 25 million has boomed in the last two decades thanks to China’s desire to see it become an international center of finance and culture. Many businesses are taking off in Shanghai and offer new opportunities to China’s growing middle class and foreigners looking to broach the Chinese market. The city has seen a constant rate of growth and is the center for many international companies working within China. It has also become a hub of culture with notoriety in fashion, art, and design. Shanghai is also known as the birthplace of Chinese cinema, which is gaining popularity around the world. As a major administrative, shipping and trading city, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to trade and recognition of its favourable port location and economic potential. Shanghai has been described as the “showpiece” of the  economy of mainland China. Renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, and museums and historic buildings, such as those along The Bund, as well as the City God Temple and the Yu Garden. Shanghai Tower located at The Bund  is the second tallest building in the world while Dubai’s Burj Khalifa holds the world record for tallest building, Shanghai Tower is actually the tallest by height to usable floor.  It can accommodate 16,000 people at a time the most in the world. Shanghai boasts one of China’s best and most distinctive cuisines. With selection of freshwater fish and shellfish dishes from this area are delicately seasoned. Shanghai’s people have a ‘sweet tooth’, and more sugar is used in Shanghai than in any other part of China. Shanghai’s neighbors also contribute to the diversity of the area’s cuisine: Hangzhou, known for its West Lake carp; Zhejiang to the west, for its vinegar; and Shaoxing, for its warmed rice wine. Shanghai is full of young expats, and locals who love their nightlife socializing and partying. As one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Shanghai is no stranger to world-class clubbing, with a string of international party destinations across the city.


With 1.4 billion people and the third-largest geographical area, China is a vast place to begin with.  In addition to, explosive economic growth, a market-oriented but Communist government, a longstanding and complex cultural history, and self-inflicted demographic challenges and understanding China can be even more of a puzzle. To truly grasp the emergence of China, one approach is to look at the impressive economic footprint made by the country’s cities. It’s also important to note that these cities don’t exist in isolation, and are parts of  larger megaregions. Such regions can be related to the Northeast U.S., in which New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. are all hours apart and remain largely integrated as a regional economy. In China, there are three main megaregions worth noting:
Yangtze River Delta
With a combined GDP of $4 trillion, which is comparable to India, the Yangtze River Delta contains cities like Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Ningbo, and Changzhou.
Pearl River Delta
With a combined GDP of $3 trillion, which is comparable to Italy, the Pearl River Delta has cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, and Macao.
With a combined GDP of $2trillion, which is comparable to Australia, this mega region holds the two largest cities in northern China, Beijing and Tianjin. The two cities are a 30-minute bullet train ride apart.
    ~ You can find Part 1 here
    Photos by : Xuqing Jia , Dominik Vanyi, Florian WehdeVivian ChenYiran DingScarbor Siu,