The Pearl River Delta's development model is outdated, and a number of emerging urban centres on the mainland are racing to drive the future development of the Chinese economy, an academic says. Wei Houkai , deputy director of the Urban Development and Environmental Study Centre at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Pearl River Delta had once made huge contributions to the mainland's economic development, but was unlikely to shine in the future because of its old-fashioned foundation. 'It relies too heavily on overseas markets, and the relation between exports reliance and economic growth is an inverse 'U', which means they will work against each other beyond a certain point,' Professor Wei said. 'It relies too heavily on low costs, low salaries and low prices, and this is the low-end advantage. It spent very little on research and development, resulting in low creativity. It has a lot of OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] but no influential brands. It has reached a dead end. 'Besides the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, the Beijing-Tianjin -Hebei urban cluster, the Shandong peninsula, Liaodong peninsula, the Wuhan urban cluster, and the city rings in northeast China and the midwest will possibly be more and more important to China's future economic growth.'