Here are China's 15 'New First Tier' Cities

By Bridget O'Donnell, June 15, 2017

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Watch out, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen: you're no longer China's only 'Tier 1' cities.

A new survey, released last month by Yicai Media Group, identified 15 spots as the country's "emerging new first-Tier cities." Note: that's not the same as just a plain old "first-tier city."

Measuring 338 cities, the study took into account their performance in five key areas, including "concentration of commercial resources, the city as a hub, urban residents’ activity, diversity of life and future predictability."

Without further ado, the full list of cities...

1. Chengdu

Chengdu

2. Hangzhou

Hangzhou

3. Wuhan

Wuhan

4. Chongqing

Chongqing

5. Nanjing

Nanjing

6. Tianjin 

Tianjin

7. Suzhou

Suzhou

8. Xi’an

Xi'an

9. Changsha

Changsha

10. Shenyang

Shenyang

11. Qingdao

Qingdao

12. Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou

13. Dalian

Dalian

14. Dongguan

Dongguan

15. Ningbo

Ningbo

The list has drawn some criticism, with netizens mocking some of the selections, in particular Zhengzhou and Dongguan — a city known for its once flourishing sex trade.

"Isn't "new first-tier city" just a nicer way of referring to second-tier cities?" pondered one web user.

"If Dongguan did not go through the anti-vice campaign, it would have become a first-tier city even sooner," joked one Weibo user.

Some suggested that the list was created purely for real estate speculation. Still others complained that it wasn't fair.

“Zhengzhou’s property price is first tier, but my income is still third tier,” wrote one

“Almost all the resources in Sichuan were invested in Chengdu. It’s unfair to other second-tier and third-tier cities in the province,” said another.

So how did Zhengzhou and Dongguan make the list? SupChina's Jiayun Feng explains:

Dongguan is a manufacturing hub that has been in the news in the last few years for its economic slowdown after decades of booming, and for the 2014 crackdown on its notorious sex industry. The Yicai report says the city’s rise in rank is largely due to the city’s excellence in drawing investment: Last year, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei moved its data center from Shenzhen to Dongguan, sparking rumors that the company is planning to relocate its headquarters there, too. Huawei already has a large office building spread over 1,900 acres that was constructed in 2012.

Meanwhile, Zhengzhou is the provincial capital of Henan, whose people are sometimes openly discriminated against — even by the police — or mocked by bloggers. Zhengzhou’s surge in ranking in the Yicai list was due to the opening of the Zhengzhou-Xuzhou high-speed railway last year. As a key project of the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan, the railway greatly reduced travel time from central and western China to the east coast.

[Top image via GoChengdu]

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