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Economy

China's cities to rise to the top ranks by 2035

Forecast has Beijing and Shanghai just behind London and Tokyo by GDP

Shanghai's Pudong financial district   © Reuters

TOKYO China's four economic centers, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Tianjin, will be among the world's 10 largest cities in terms of gross domestic product by 2035, but they will still trail New York, Tokyo and London, according to the latest forecast by Oxford Economics.

The U.K. research company with links to Oxford University examined how 780 of the largest cities in the world -- which accounted for 35% of the world population and 59% of global GDP in 2016 -- will change in terms of economic growth by 2035. The aggregate GDP of the 780 cities is expected to increase at an average of 2.9% annually.

"Many of today's emerging market cities, particularly in Asia, will continue to progress along the development path and the balance of urban economic power will shift further east," the report summarized.

China is likely to be the growth center over the period. Shanghai will climb five positions from the 2016 forecast to 5th, topping Paris, while Beijing will go up nine places to 6th in 2035. Guangzhou and Tianjin will also jump to 8th and 10th position from 22nd and 27th in 2016, respectively.

As a result, the aggregate GDP of 150 Chinese cities covered in the study will more than double to over $25 trillion, according to the report, and this means that they alone will represent around one third of total global urban GDP by 2035.

A total of 33 cities in China ranked in the top 100 list for 2035, up 15 from 18 cities in the 2016 list. These will include Shenzhen at 11th, Chongqing at 13th and Suzhou at 18th.

STAYING POWER Despite the rapid growth of Chinese cities, New York and Tokyo are expected to keep the global 1st and 2nd positions. Los Angeles will drop one position to 4th, whereas London will go up one place to 3rd.

Indian cities will see big jumps from 2016 to 2035. Mumbai will climb 86 positions to 48th, Delhi will rise 73 places to 56th, and Bangalore will move up 131 positions to 66th.

As for other megalopolises in Asia, Jakarta will rank 21st, up 22 places from 2016, and Manila will move up from 95th to 49th. Kuala Lumpur will rise 27 places to 76th.

Some developed cities are expected to fall in ranking by 2035. Japan's Osaka-Kyoto region ranked 17th, down 10 places, Singapore 27th, down four places, Hong Kong 28th, down eight positions, and Seoul 32nd, down 11 places.

The report pointed out that growing cities would face challenges in infrastructure, such as adequate housing, support services and transport networks.

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