Chengdu, Chongqing, Guiyang, Shenzhen, and Nanjing rank on top of the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities (BPC) China’s top 10 performing cities list (tier-1 and tier-2 cities) while Nantong, Bengbu, and Foshan are the top 3 in the tier-3 cities group.
Chengdu’s robust performance can be largely attributed to its development of diverse and high value-added industries and encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition, it has many universities, colleges, and research institutions that provide an abundance of talent to the local labor market.
Chongqing also has diverse and high value-added industries, a deep talent pool, and lower business costs. In addition, it has a pivotal location at the intersection of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the “Silk Road Economic Belt.” All these characteristics contributed to Chongqing’s phenomenal economic performance.
Two other cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt are also ranked among the top 10 first- and second-tier cities: Nanjing (ranked 5th) and Shanghai (ranked 6th). Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone is ranked fourth. Guiyang was ranked first last year and stands at third place this year. Nanchang was ranked seventh last year and places ninth this year.
Nantong grabs the top spot this year among third-tier cities, having reached the top 10 in the last two years. Its strong performance can be attributed to its diverse industries, abundant talent pool, and well-connected transportation network. Being part of the Yangtze River Economic Belt also bolsters its competitive advantages.
Taizhou (ranked 6th), Yangzhou (ranked 8th), Yichang (ranked 9th), and Suzhou (ranked 10th) are other cities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt entering the top 10 third-tier city index this year. Overall, these cities together with Nantong have shown a more robust and stable economic performance than other cities in the top 10 list. Ji’an was ranked ninth in 2015 and No. 20 in 2016, and bounces back to fourth place this year.
Bengbu (ranked 2nd), Foshan (ranked 3rd), Zunyi (ranked 5th), and Luohe (ranked 7th) are newcomers to the BPC top 10 list among the third-tier cities. The rise of Foshan and Zunyi may be related to the progress made by the regional clusters they belong to. Bengbu and Luohe may have benefited largely from the OBOR initiative. However, these two cities will need to develop more robust industrial bases in order to keep up their growth momentum.
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