Although most of the news on the property front is downbeat it is possible to see both the rapid expansion of the past and the rapid expansion of the future.
Despite current problems with dynamic economies based on industry, service, shipping and logistics, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are China’s fastest-changing cities.
Ten years ago, the Minnan Hotel dominated the skyline in Xiamen, a special economic zone on the Taiwan Strait. At 550 feet tall — about the size of the skyscrapers that abut New York’s Central Park — it was a conspicuous outlier in a developing city.
Now, it’s beginning to look like a tree in a forest, as buildings just as tall have popped up across the waterfront and in the city center.
But development in Xiamen hasn’t been nearly as rapid as in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, two cities on the Pearl River Delta. With dynamic economies based on industry, service, shipping and logistics, they are China’s fastest-changing cities.
Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing round out the top five. They’re followed by Dalian and Nanjing, two cities that have emerged as factory-based growth centers, but are also turning into vibrant markets for consumer goods.
These rankings are based on three measures:
Economic growth using indexed data from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a state research agency. (Smaller industrial boomtowns like Hefei and Suzhou scored particularly well by this measure.)
The growth of each city as a market.
The cities’ skylines. The government that didn’t officially use the word ‘urbanization’ until the late ’90s. Skyscrapers and cranes may be the best marker of globalization’s effect on China. Each city was ranked by the aggregate height of its skyline.