The central business district in Beijing has a mix of offices and apartments. Photo: iStock/Getty.

China needs at least eight more first-tier cities, said Guan Qingyou, deputy director of Minsheng Securities and chief economist of the Minsheng Think Tank. Nine cities, including Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xi’an, Suzhou and Hefei are expected to be the nation’s next first-tier centers, Yicai.com reported.

For now, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the four commonly known first-tier cities in China, in terms of their GDP and the development of different industries.

Guan thinks major functions and resources are highly concentrated in those four cities, but they have failed to drive economic development in their respective regions.

Upgrading the positioning of cities can attract capital, industries and talent, he said. Cities with higher hierarchy can enjoy more authority in economic management, which will enhance the scale effect and radiation effect, driving the development of the surrounding area.

Guan is not the first one to put forward the idea. Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs of the Communist Party of China, once said that to deal with Beijing’s big city problems, China needs ten more major cities like Beijing.

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