China’s Urban Billion

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report “Preparing for China’s Urban Billion” says that the country’s unprecedented urbanization will continue over the next 20 years, and by 2030 China’s urban population will reach 1 billion. Here are some numbers that are indeed mind-bogging:

By 2025, China will have 221 cities with more than one million inhabitants – compared with 35 in Europe today.

China’ urban population will expand from 572 million in 2005 to 926 million in 2025. Over 350 million people will move from rural areas to the cities – more than the population of the Unite States.

By 2025, China could have 15 super-cities with average populations of 25 million people. 41 percent of China’s higher income middle class will live in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

China will build almost 40 billion square meters of floor space over the next 20 years, requiring construction of 50,000 new skyscrapers – the equivalent of ten New York Cities.

Up to 170 cities could meet planning criteria for mass-transit systems by 2025, more than twice the current number in Europe. This could promise to be the greatest boom in mass-transit construction in history.

The report also says that China’s urban economy will generate 90 percent of its GDP by 2025. Urban China will become a dominant global market with its aggregate consumption almost twice, and disposable income over two times, those of Germany.

Businesses have not only an opportunity to leverage China’s booming middle class and a stratum of affluent consumers, but also to become major investors – in road and rail, public-transits, the energy-supply infrastructure, and energy efficiency technologies.

2 thoughts on “China’s Urban Billion

  1. When all those people buy refrigerators and washer/dryers and cars and maybe even ATV’s and jet skis…
    Where is all the energy going to come from?
    I’m not blaming them…they have as much right as we do to the “good life.”
    But can the earth support it?

  2. Bert,

    Good question. That’s the biggest challenge facing China. There will be major breakthroughs in energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies, which will not only save China, but also benefit the world…. My upcoming book on the Chinese middle class will cover these topics.

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