Chinese media reported yesterday that Guangzhou is set to become the first city in China to be recognised as ‘developed’ under World Bank standards, which define developed cities as those with a per capita GDP of over US$10,000.
The capital of the Guangdong province, which has long been China’s experimental playground for reform and opening up, is closely followed by Shanghai and Shenzhen which recorded per capita GDP’s of US$7,600 and US$7,300 respectively in the year 2005 (2006 figures not available yet). Beijing trails behind a distant fourth at US$5,457.
Now before we pop the champagne with our fellow Guangzhouists too quickly, let’s look a little closer at the numbers. An article from China Business News tells us the population of Guangzhou stands at 9.94 million while it’s hukou population stands at just 7.03 million. Well guess what, the rosy statistics are calculated based on the hukou population.
The same article goes on to tell us that in the early days, Shenzhen led in many statistics because of its peculiar population structure. Although the city’s actual population had actually ballooned to 10.35 million, its hukou population stands at a mere 1.71 million, with the rest accounted for by migrant, resident and semi-resident dwellers.
It remains unclear from the article which figure Shenzhen’s latest GDP statistics are calculated from, or whether standards have since been applied across the board in the compiling of statistics. Hmm.
*Image of Guangzhou from lamkevin.