• Tue
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 2:31am
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 6:24pm

Eight cool facts about the new 100-million-person Beijing megacity

BIO

Jeffrey Towson is Managing Partner of Towson Capital, advisory private equity firm. Jonathan Woetzel is a Director in McKinsey & Company’s Shanghai office, and the Director of the McKinsey Global Institute in Asia. They are Professors at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, and are the authors of The One Hour China Book, now available on amazon.com.
 

A couple weeks ago, one of China’s top economic planners discussed plans to integrate Beijing, Tianjin and parts of Hebei into a new mega-city. This new Beijing mega-city would contain approximately 100 million people and is already being referred to as “Jing-Jin-Ji”. 

We thought we would point out eight cool “likely facts” about the new Beijing mega-city – and Chinese urbanisation in general.

  • By 2025, Beijing will have over 7 million households earning over US$20,000 per year. This will make it third or fourth on the global rich cities list.
  • The Beijing mega-city is already happening. Beijing’s seventh ring road, currently under construction, is basically in Hebei at this point. And Tianjin is a fast 30-minute train ride away. So these cities are already connected in terms of hardware – roads, trains, and infrastructure. Now it’s about integrating the software - policies, companies, services, families, and so on.
  • The Beijing mega-city population is approximately 100 million people and this is rising fast. Between 1990 and 2010, Beijing’s population has grown more than three times as fast as China’s population. This is both from migrants and people having babies. 
  • The economic output of the Jing-Jin-Ji cluster is about 10 per cent of China’s GDP. But by 2025, Beijing will be the world’s fifth largest urban economy. Add in Tianjin at number 12 and the Jing-Jin-Ji cluster will then be larger than London, Tokyo or New York.
  • Beijing has over 100 large company global headquarters, more than any other emerging market city, and sixth in the world, ahead of Seoul, Chicago and Los Angeles.
  • These sorts of city-clusters are the future of China. You can’t really build a >50 million person city as it becomes unworkable. Pollution, traffic, population, and housing pressures become increasingly problematic beyond a certain size. So creating a hub-and-spoke system around major cities like Beijing makes sense. Beijing is already struggling with air pollution, water scarcity, and a flood of migrant workers.
  • About one-fifth of Beijing’s nonresident population is already from Hebei, so the nonresident and undocumented are a big part of the movement of people within this cluster. If trends continue, over 40 per cent of China’s urban population nationwide will be undocumented and technically “illegal” by 2030.
  • Due to urbanisation and medium-rise development, China’s residents live approximately 10 metres higher in the air than they did 10 years ago. Beijing is growing both up and out. With the increasing difficulty to convert agricultural land to urban use, this “rising in the air” trend will continue.

For more on this subject, please take a look at our “speed-read” China book (called The One Hour China Book, www.onehourchina.com). Available now on Amazon for the price of a medium latte.

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5

This article is now closed to comments

chaz_hen
What are these clowns salivating about? Who cares? Are they property agents??
Oh I see this is a free advert provided by SCMP!
johnyuan
The future megacity can’t come into being without efficient means to commute among all the cities. Given that the rapid transits drastically shorten commuting time more people would be on the road but there are inherited problems that still require great improvement:
1. Clean source to power rapid transits.
2. More roads and clean transits between home / rapid transit station / final destination.
.
While the development of rapid transit makes possible of a megacity or metropolitan area, the increase mobility of people on the road would at this time exacerbate road congestion and air pollution in the megacity with mega problems. These anticipated downsides would not be cool facts especially for Beijing as a megacity.
.
May be it is wiser to make the three cities as independent as possible that daily commuting to work bewteen cities is not necessary. Foreign companies as reported yesterday in fact are relocting out from CBD of Beijing to elsewhere to avoid traffic congestion and air pollution. The city planners must pay great attention to balance between decentralization and concentralization of activities in the process in making a megacity.
charlie212
megacity = megapollution . It's gonna be great !!!
Kim Woodard
You missed one point on Jing-Jin-Ji. We are already breathing common levels of PM2.5.
984162925@qq.com
Common levels like 30 times higher than national limit and at least 50 times than international limit
 
 
 
 
 

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