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Bohai Economic Rim: A Chinese Super City For 3% Of The World’s Population

If you thought the Pearl River Delta Into One project was of mind blowing proportions then check out the Bohai Bay Economic Rim initiative. Hint: it’s proposed to be 260 million people big.

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We’ve already reported on the Pearl River Delta Into One supercity initiative which will connect Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou, and Zhaoqing into a gargantuan, almost imaginably huge metropolis of over 50 million people. But I have to report today that even this urban monstrosity is nothing compared to what is being created in the north of the China.

They are calling it the Bohai Economic Rim, and it is to be the super city of all super cities. Centering around Beijing and Tianjin, this urban beast is being rigged to hold 260 million people. That’s over three percent of the current world population.

The Bohai Economic Rim, a city for 260 million people.

This gigundo-city basically extends from the outer edges of Hebei province, encapsulating Beijing and Tianjin, and then spreading over the coastal regions of Liaoning and Shandong provinces, using their respective peninsulas as a pincer around Bohai Bay.

The spinal column of this urban monster is the high speed rail line that runs through the middle of it. It stretches form Beijing to Tianjin, allowing passengers to travel the 117 km in 30 minutes. It is along this line that connector cities are currently being built.

Major cities to be connected by the Bohai Economic Rim and their populations:

Beijing 17,430,000
Tianjin 11,760,000
Dalian 6,200,000
Tangshan 7,100,000
Shenyang 7,760,000
Jinan 5,900,000
Qingdao 7,579,900
Weihai 2,596,753
Dandong 2,409,697

The Bohai Economic Rim is one of three insanely massive urbanization projects that are currently being built in China. The other two are the aforementioned Pearl River Delta project and the Yangtze River Delta super city, which extends out from Shanghai.

China’s super cities: Bohai Economic Rim, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta.

China is building cities at a pace that has never been done before in human history and are growing them to proportions that are pretty much unfathomable. After building hundreds of new cities through the 70s and 80s, Chinese leaders announced in 2011 a program to build 20 new cities per year around the country for the next 20 years. These super cities are part of that initiative.

From Wikipedia:

The Chinese central government has made it a priority to integrate all the cities in the Bohai Bay rim and foster economic development. This includes building an advanced communications network, better highways, increased education and scientific resources as well as tapping natural resources off the Bohai rim.

From Forbes:

Beijing’s aim is to have 70% of the Chinese people—about 900 million—living in cities by 2025.

What’s the rationale for the rural-to-urban push? Chinese technocrats think that if more citizens lived in cities, consumption would rise, and raising consumption is considered the key to creating a sustainable economy over the long term . . . “If half of China’s population starts consuming, growth is inevitable,” Li Xiangyang of the Institute of World Economics and Politics told the Times. “Right now they are living in rural areas where they do not consume.”

The premise of Chinese planners is deeply flawed. They look at more developed societies and realize they are far more urbanized than China. Therefore, they think that if they create more Chinese cities, China will naturally become a developed country with a vibrant economy. They forget that cities in other societies grew organically, not created through fiats issued by geniuses in planning ministries.

It’s a great irony that the world’s most populous country is engaging in developmental projects that are so massive that onlookers are often left to wonder where they plan on getting all the people needed to fill them.


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Filed under: China, New Cities, Travel Guide, Urbanization

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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