Beijing comes second, ahead of Shenzhen, in top-100 list Shanghai is the mainland's best all-round city, according to a National Bureau of Statistics list ranking its top 100 cities. The list, released at the weekend, shows Shanghai outperformed second-ranked Beijing in economics, social development, infrastructure and environmental standards. But it trailed the national capital in education, with a smaller percentage of the population holding university degrees. It also had fewer people working in the services sector and slower population growth. Shenzhen was third on the list, drawn from economic and social indicators last year. Guangzhou, Tianjin , Nanjing , Dalian , Hangzhou , Shenyang and Harbin followed. Ye Yumin , from the Regional Economics and Urban Management Institute at Beijing's Renmin University, says Shanghai will continue to be the frontrunner for many years due to 'its developed infrastructure, sound industry fundamentals, mature human resources, the government's openness [towards its development] and its co-operation with Yangtze River Delta cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces'. 'Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other Pearl River Delta cities will face more obstacles than Shanghai in the future, although the growth of their gross domestic product will also be considerable. 'They may need three to five years to adjust the structure of their industries so they can embrace more technologically advanced companies, which will do away with the labour-intensive plants that occupy most of the land at the moment and pump out pollution.' The mainland's leading 100 cities generated 6.1 trillion yuan in GDP last year, the list shows. The figure accounts for 80 per cent of the GDP produced by the mainland's 660 cities. Foreign direct investment in Guangdong dropped by 10 per cent during the first seven months of the year compared with the same period last year. The decline in Shenzhen alone was 18 per cent. Economists say offshore investors have been reassessing the attraction of the Pearl River Delta, which used to be their first choice. However, Professor Ye said the delta would continue to be an attractive proposition. 'Considering Guangdong's cities and Hong Kong, the potential is still huge after the necessary adjustments have been made,' she said. Although three cities on the list - Beijing, Tianjin and Shenyang - are part of the prosperous Bohai Bay Rim, the professor is not that optimistic about the rim's development. 'Compared with the Yangtze and Pearl River delta cities, the co-operation in the Bo Hai Bay Rim is at an initial stage,' she said.