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Integration of Big City Clusters in China: Development Trend and Policy Options (No.2, 2019)


By Yu Jiantuo & Chen Chunchun, Research Team on “Measurement of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration”, China Development Research Foundation

Research Report, No.2, 2019 (Total 5502) 2019-1-7

Abstract: This study uses the new measurement method for regional integration to measure and compare the integration process of 12 major city clusters in China from 2006 to 2015. The 12 city clusters cover 157 cities at or above the prefecture level, accounting for less than 20% of China’s territorial area, 61.12% of its population and 82.03% of its economic output in 2015. The analysis results show that the level of regional integration of China’s city clusters has been continuously improving during the ten years of the survey, and the integration speed monitored with the index is higher than that of the average urbanization, which reflects the improvement of the quality of urbanization. The integration of China’s city clusters roughly forms three “rungs on a ladder” featuring convergence in each group. The integration level of the Pearl River Delta region and the Yangtze River Delta region is in the first rung group, significantly higher than other regions. The integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei only ranks in the middle of the second group for their integration level lags obviously behind the first rung group. The city clusters in Central China and middle and western regions such as Wuhan are catching up rapidly, while the integration in northeast China is rather weak. The main factors fueling regional integration are economic agglomeration and regional internal connectivity. However, economic equalization and institutional synergy remain to be improved. Based on relevant analysis, the research report puts forward some policy options on promoting the integration of city clusters in China.

Key words: new type of urbanization, integration of city clusters, ACEP index