Chinese city tier system

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The Chinese city tier system (Chinese: 中国城市等级制) is a hierarchical classification of Chinese cities. There are no such official lists in China, as the Chinese government does not publish or recognize an official definition or a list of cities included in the tier system. However, it is frequently referred to by various media publications for purposes including commerce, transportation, tourism, education, and more.[1][2] Given the rapid development of Chinese cities and the ever-changing dynamic among cities, the tier system has gained wide popularity in recent years as a point of reference. Cities in different tiers reflect differences in consumer behavior, income level, population size, consumer sophistication, infrastructure, talent pool, and business opportunity.[3] The tier system typically includes cities in mainland China only.

Background[edit]

Many economists, consultants and businesses classify cities in China based on the tier system.[4] Businesses frequently refer to the tier system in, for example, devising marketing strategy, as it is understood that treating China as one market is simply not feasible: consumers from different regions and cities have vastly different income levels, behaviors, and trends.[5] Cities in different tiers also differ greatly in population size, infrastructure, and the level of sophistication in products and services.

Given the sheer number of cities in China, there is not a single version of this classification. Conventionally, it is understood that there are four tiers, and the consensus is that four cities belong to Tier-1: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen (colloquially known as “Bei-Shang-Guang-Shen”).[6] First-tier cities represent the most developed areas of the country with the most affluent and sophisticated consumers. They are large, densely populated urban metropolises that have huge economic, cultural and political influence in China.

Classification[edit]

iFeng News[edit]

iFeng is a major news outlet run by Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings (凤凰), a Hong Kong–based Chinese language television broadcaster that serves the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong along with other markets with substantial Chinese viewers.

In 2017, iFeng released a comprehensive ranking of China's prefectural-level and provincial-level cities..

Chinese City Tiers 1-3, Phoenix 2017[7] (For the complete ranking, click here)
Tier Cities Number of cities
Tier 1 Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin

北京、上海、广州、深圳、天津

5
Tier 2 (Upper-range) Hangzhou, Nanjing, Jinan, Chongqing, Qingdao, Dalian, Ningbo, Xiamen

杭州、南京、济南、重庆、青岛、大连、宁波、厦门

8
Tier 2

(Mid-range)

Chengdu, Wuhan, Harbin, Shenyang, Xi’an, Changchun, Changsha, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, Shijiazhuang, Suzhou, Foshan, Dongguan, Wuxi, Yantai, Taiyuan

成都、武汉、哈尔滨、沈阳、西安、长春、长沙、福州、郑州、石家庄、苏州、佛山、东莞、无锡、烟台、太原

16
Tier 2 (Lower-range) Hefei, Nanchang, Nanning, Kunming, Wenzhou, Zibo, Tangshan

合肥、南昌、南宁、昆明、温州、淄博、唐山

7
Tier 3 Urumqi, Guiyang, Haikou, Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Xining, Hohhot, Quanzhou, Baotou, Nantong, Daqing, Xuzhou, Weifang, Changzhou, Erdos, Shaoxing, Jining, Yancheng, Handan, Linyi, Luoyang, Dongying, Yangzhou, Taizhou, Jiaxing, Cangzhou, Yulin, Zhenjiang, Kunshan, Jiangyin, Zhangjiagang, Yiwu, Jinhua, Baoding, Jilin, Anshan, Tai'an, Yichang, Zhongshan, Huizhou, Nanyang, Weihai, Dezhou, Liaocheng, Changde, Zhangzhou, Binzhou, Maoming, Huaian, Jiangmen, Wuhu, Zhanjiang, Langfang, Heze, Liuzhou, Baoji, Zhuhai, Mianyang

乌鲁木齐、贵阳、海口、兰州、银川、西宁、呼和浩特、泉州、包头、南通、大庆、徐州、潍坊、常州、鄂尔多斯、绍兴、济宁、盐城、邯郸、临沂、洛阳、东营、扬州、台州、嘉兴、沧州、榆林、泰州、镇江、昆山、江阴、张家港、义乌、金华、保定、吉林、鞍山、泰安、宜昌、中山、惠州、南阳、威海、德州、岳阳、聊城、常德、漳州、滨州、茂名、淮安、江门、芜湖、湛江、廊坊、菏泽、柳州、宝鸡、珠海、绵阳

60

Yicai Global[edit]

In 2017, Yicai Global, a financial magazine, published a tiered list of the Most Commercially Charming Cities in China, ranking 338 Chinese cities above or at the prefectural level based on the latest business data from 160 commercial brands, customer behavior data from 17 internet companies and Big Data on cities compiled by research institutions. The new ranking assessed the commercial attractiveness of 338 cities drawing from data on five dimensions: (1) concentration of commercial resources, (2) the extent to which a city serves as a commercial hub, (3) vitality of urban residents, (4) diversity of lifestyle, (5) future dynamism. The list below shows Yicai Global’s 2017 classification, which contains 338 cities ranked on 6 tiers: tier 1, new tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, tier 4, and tier 5.[8]

It is important to note that a "city" in China may refer to an administrative unit at different levels. In short, while there are 334 prefectural-level units in China, there are 2,851 units at the county level, and 39,864 units at the township level.[9][10] This list includes only units at the prefectural level, the second highest administrative division in China. A "prefectural-level" administrative unit can be a city, a prefecture, an autonomous prefecture, and a league. The four direct municipalities, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Tianjin are also considered cities even though they are officially provincial-level administrative units. It is for these reasons that Yicai Global's published list includes 338 "cities": namely all of the 334 prefectural-level units plus the 4 direct municipalities.

Top 3 Tiers of Prefectural-level Chinese Cities by Yicai Global 2017[11][12] (For the complete ranking, visit Yicai Global's city rank)
Tier Cities

(Notes: because many cities in China have names that appear identical in pinyin, the list below includes city names written in Chinese characters to help differentiate)

Number of cities
Tier 1 Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen

北京市、上海市、广州市、深圳市

4
New Tier 1 Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Xi'an, Changsha, Shenyang, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Dongguan, Ningbo

成都市、杭州市、武汉市、重庆市、南京市、天津市、苏州市、西安市、长沙市、沈阳市、青岛市、郑州市、大连市、东莞市、宁波市

15
Tier 2 Xiamen, Fuzhou, Wuxi, Hefei, Kunming, Harbin, Jinan, Foshan, Changchun, Wenzhou, Shijiazhuang, Nanning, Changzhou, Quanzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang, Taiyuan , Yantai, Jiaxing, Nantong, Jinhua, Zhuhai, Huizhou, Xuzhou, Haikou, Ürümqi, Shaoxing, Zhongshan, Taizhou, Lanzhou

厦门市、福州市、无锡市、合肥市、昆明市、哈尔滨市、济南市、佛山市、长春市、温州市、石家庄市、南宁市、常州市、泉州市、南昌市、贵阳市、太原市、烟台市、嘉兴市、南通市、金华市、珠海市、惠州市、徐州市、海口市、乌鲁木齐市、绍兴市、中山市、台州市、兰州市

30
Tier 3 Weifang, Baoding, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, Guilin, Tangshan, Sanya, Huzhou, Hohhot, Langfang, Luoyang, Weihai, Yancheng, Linyi, Jiangmen, Shantou, Taizhou , Quzhou, Handan, Jining, Wuhu, Zibo, Yinchuan, Liuzhou, Mianyang, Zhanjiang, Anshan, Quzhou, Daqing, Yichang, Baotou, Xianyang, Qinhuangdao, Zhuzhou, Putian, Jilin, Huai'an, Zhaoqing, Ningde, Hengyang, Nanping, Lianyungang, Dandong, Lijiang, Jieyang, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Zhoushan, Jiujiang, Longyan, Luzhou, Fushun, Xiangyang, Shangrao, Yingkou, Sanming, Handan, Lishui, Yueyang, Qingyuan, Jingzhou, Tai'an, Luzhou, Panjin, Dongying, Nanyang, Ma'anshan, Nanchong, Xining, Xiaogan, Qiqihar

潍坊市、保定市、镇江市、扬州市、桂林市、唐山市、三亚市、湖州市、呼和浩特市、廊坊市、洛阳市、威海市、盐城市、临沂市、江门市、汕头市、泰州市、漳州市、邯郸市、济宁市、芜湖市、淄博市、银川市、柳州市、绵阳市、湛江市、鞍山市、赣州市、大庆市、宜昌市、包头市、咸阳市、秦皇岛市、株洲市、莆田市、吉林市、淮安市、肇庆市、宁德市、衡阳市、南平市、连云港市、丹东市、丽江市、揭阳市、延边朝鲜族自治州、舟山市、九江市、龙岩市、沧州市、抚顺市、襄阳市、上饶市、营口市、三明市、蚌埠市、丽水市、岳阳市、清远市、荆州市、泰安市、衢州市、盘锦市、东营市、南阳市、马鞍山市、南充市、西宁市、孝感市、齐齐哈尔市

70

South China Morning Post[edit]

A different list, published by the South China Morning Post, ranks 613 Chinese cities on four tiers.[13] This list uses a variety of parameters as the basis of classification: population size, GDP, and administrative hierarchy. According to the South China Morning Post, the Tier 1 Chinese cities consist of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Chongqing.[13]

Criticism[edit]

Some argue that the tier system limits opportunities for cities that are not ranked among higher tiers. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an American investment banker and author of How China’s Leaders Think, argues that the so-called “second-tier” cities should actually be called “first-class opportunities,” given that these cities have been growth engines of the Chinese economy, boosted by huge amounts of investment, new infrastructure and an influx of new talent. Kuhn says that "roughly 170 Chinese cities have more than one million residents, but only five – Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – are considered “first-tier” in terms of size and per capita Gross Domestic Product. Some of these metropolises have populations that exceed that of many countries and are world-class in every way."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hinsdale, Mason (2017-11-01). "Why Succeeding in China's Lower-tier Cities Is So Important - Jing Travel". Jing Travel. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  2. ^ "China's 'new' first-tier cities compete to attract talent". chinaplus.cri.cn. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  3. ^ "China Focus: China's second-tier cities battle for top talent - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  4. ^ "In China, Small Cities to Drive Growth". Morgan Stanley. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  5. ^ "Hermès to Debut Store in Chinese Second-Tier City | Jing Daily". Jing Daily. 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  6. ^ "北上广深,谁会被挤出一线城市?". cj.sina.com.cn. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  7. ^ "一二三四线城市最新划分弄清楚了!你家乡是什么级别? ——凤凰网房产北京". house.ifeng.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  8. ^ Ming, Cheang (2017-06-11). "Netizens say one of the Chinese cities just upgraded to 'first-tier' doesn't deserve the label". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  9. ^ "World Bank 世界银行:中国中小城镇概述" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Administrative divisions of China". Wikipedia. 2018-06-03.
  11. ^ 2017“新一线”城市排行榜发布成都、杭州、武汉蝉联三甲郑州、东莞新晋入榜_第一财经. www.yicai.com. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  12. ^ 2017城市商业魅力排行榜:15个“新一线”城市,你的家乡上榜了吗?. news.ifeng.com. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  13. ^ a b Hernández, Marco. "China city tiers". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  14. ^ "China's "Second-Tier" Cities Take Off — Doing Business in China — Presented by Cathay Pacific". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2018-04-01.