Under the epidemic, the urban competition landscape has also undergone major changes. Among the top ten cities in the first half of this year, Chongqing’s GDP surpassed Guangzhou, ranking fourth in the country, and Guangzhou retreated to fifth.

  Has the pattern of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen first-tier cities been rewritten? At least for now, from the perspective of industrial structure, total capital, and talent flow, the gap between Chongqing and Guangzhou is not small. However, Guangzhou’s own problems, especially the level of industrial development and industrial transformation and upgrading with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen The gap cannot be ignored.

Why the GDP ranking changes

  In the first half of 2020, Guangzhou completed a GDP of 1,096.829 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 2.7%; in the same period, Chongqing’s GDP was 1,120.983 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 0.8%. Comparing the two, Chongqing has 24.154 billion yuan more than Guangzhou.

  In fact, it is expected that the total GDP of Guangzhou will be exceeded by Chongqing. Statistics show that in 2019, Guangzhou achieved a GDP of 2,362.86 billion yuan and Chongqing’s 2,360,577 million yuan. Guangzhou only leads Chongqing by 2.283 billion yuan, and its advantage is minimal.

  Since 1989, Guangzhou's economic aggregate has ranked third in the country, second only to Shanghai and Beijing. In 2016, Guangzhou's GDP was surpassed by Shenzhen for the first time after ranking third in regional GDP for 27 consecutive years; this year, it was surpassed by Chongqing again, relegating to fifth place, the lowest position in Guangzhou in 30 years.

  Peng Peng, executive chairman of the Guangdong Institutional Reform Research Association, analyzed to China Business News that Chongqing has a large population and large land area, so there is a lot of room for development. At the same time, under the epidemic, Guangzhou's foreign demand and business markets have been greatly affected.

  From the perspective of industrial structure, Guangzhou’s tertiary industry accounted for more than 70% last year. On the one hand, as one of the three major gateway and hub cities in China, Guangzhou, like Beijing and Shanghai, is more affected by the epidemic; on the other hand, as a millennium business capital, Guangzhou has a well-developed commerce market, and this part of this year has had a great impact. In June, the Canton Fair, known as the "barometer" of foreign trade, could only be held in the cloud.

  In contrast, Chongqing’s tertiary industry accounts for only 53%, and the degree of export is much lower than that of Guangzhou. It is less affected by foreign trade exports, so it resumes work and production faster.

  Peng Peng said that Chongqing is a municipality directly under the Central Government and has many policy blessings, so it will continue to develop rapidly in the future. Including Chongqing, there will be some fast-growing cities in the strong second-tier cities in the future, but from the perspective of overall strength, the gap between these cities and the first-tier cities is still not small.

  Take Chongqing and Guangzhou as examples. Chongqing’s GDP surpasses that of Guangzhou, and it is more the scale effect brought by population and area. Chongqing has a population of more than 30 million and an area of ​​82,400 square kilometers, which is equivalent to a medium-sized province. However, there is still a big gap between Chongqing and Guangzhou in terms of some important indicators for measuring the level of development and industrial level. Overall, although Chongqing's GDP surpasses Guangzhou to rank fourth, the pattern of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen has not changed.

  For example, in 2019, Guangzhou’s per capita GDP reached 156,427 yuan, while Chongqing’s was 75,828 yuan in the same period, which is about half of Guangzhou’s, which is only slightly higher than the national average of 70,892 yuan.

  The balance of various deposits of financial institutions, or "total funds", is a manifestation of the economic vitality of a region or city. By the end of last year, Guangzhou had reached 5.9 trillion yuan, ranking fourth in the country; Chongqing was 3.9 trillion yuan, ranking seventh in the country.

  The number of national high-tech enterprises is an important indicator to measure the industrial transformation and upgrading and industrial development level of a region. Last year, Guangzhou had 12,174 national high-tech enterprises, ranking fourth in the country; Chongqing had only 3141, ranking 15th in the country. Currently, Chongqing’s traditional manufacturing industry is relatively prominent, but there are still relatively shortcomings in the development of intelligent manufacturing, high-tech industries, and emerging industries.

  Due to the differences in the level of industrial development and economic development, Guangzhou is highly attractive to talents and population. Currently, Guangzhou has a net inflow of 5.77 million people and Chongqing has a net outflow of 2.92 million.

  Hubei Academy of Social Sciences researcher Peng Zhimin analyzed to China Business News that compared to the total GDP, the city’s attractiveness to talents, the proportion of research and development, the contribution rate of science and technology, and high-tech industries will be more meaningful.

Guangzhou can no longer eat his laurels

  Guangzhou still has a clear lead over Chongqing and other second-tier cities. However, compared with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the gap in Guangzhou has been increasing in recent years, especially in the high-tech industries and modern service industries, which restrict Guangzhou's overall competitiveness.

  In terms of total funding, before 2013, Guangzhou had been ahead of Shenzhen, second only to Beijing and Shanghai. However, in 2013, the total amount of funds in Guangzhou was surpassed by Shenzhen, and in 2015, Shenzhen was largely thrown off. As of last year, Guangzhou's total capital was only 70% of Shenzhen's.

  In Peng Peng's view, the gap between Guangzhou and Shenzhen reflects the difference between "new money" and "old money", and even the difference in industrial structure. "Guangzhou, as a thousand-year-old business capital, has a strong traditional commerce industry. In the early days, it was rich in the people. Many people were "one shop for three generations" and they made hard money."

  According to statistics, there were 713 professional markets in Guangzhou in 2018, with more than 800,000 market merchants, and total market transactions exceeding one trillion yuan. In the era of traditional commerce, cities or regions with strong professional wholesale markets have a large pool of funds. In addition, Guangzhou's traditional industries such as automobiles and petrochemicals were also prominent.

  As my country's economic development enters a new stage of transformation and upgrading, the role of high-tech industries and emerging industries in urban competition has become increasingly prominent. At present, finance and high technology are the iconic industries of urban upgrading and development. For a city to have a say in national economic competition, it often needs to make breakthroughs in these two major industries.

  As one of the most developed cities in China’s high-tech industries, Shenzhen is also one of the country’s financial centers. In recent years, with the successive launch of the Growth Enterprise Market and the Science and Technology Innovation Board, high-tech enterprises have accelerated asset securitization. Once the enterprises are listed, the reinvestment of funds will be rolled over. quickly.

  Professor Tan Gang, vice president of the Party School of Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee, analyzed to China Business News that the changes in urban economic aggregates and capital aggregates objectively reflect changes in the urban industrial structure and the growth momentum of the city itself. The advantage of Guangzhou over Shenzhen in the past is that Guangzhou's heavy industry has developed well, and automobiles and other industries account for a relatively high proportion of the total economic output. But for Shenzhen, due to the lack of resources and elements for the development of traditional industries, it has also forced Shenzhen to take a relatively light industrial path. Since the 1990s, Shenzhen has gradually moved towards a road driven mainly by technological innovation, with remarkable results.

  Tan Gang believes that in the early days, Shenzhen also had a stage where high-tech industries did not contribute much to the economy. However, a large number of top companies such as Huawei and Tencent were born in the later period, which significantly stimulated the economy. This resulted in the rapid development of the upstream and downstream industrial chain, and the trend Shenzhen has a development path that matches its resource endowment, while seizing the space of the electronic information industry to find a suitable position in the global industrial chain.

  Peng Peng said that in the early days of Shenzhen, there was also “three to one supplement” (processing with supplied materials, processing with supplied samples, assembly with supplied parts, and compensation trade), but after the 1990s, various costs increased, resulting in crowding out effects and many industries were transferred. After arriving in Dongguan, vigorously develop high-tech industries. "Guangzhou has a lot of land, the professional market and traditional manufacturing industry are reluctant to let go. Compared with high-tech, it is not outstanding."

  Take the Sci-tech Innovation Board as an example. Since the opening of the gate, 25 companies have been listed on the Sci-tech Innovation Board in Beijing, 19 in Shanghai, 13 in Shenzhen, 10 in Suzhou, 6 in Hangzhou, and only 5 in Guangzhou.

  In fact, since 2013, the total amount of Shenzhen's capital has surpassed and even shook off Guangzhou by a large margin, representing the surpassing of traditional commerce and traditional industries by high-tech industries, emerging industries, and modern service industries. This transcendence is not only reflected between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but also in the internal structure of the city and the larger regional development space.

  Since 2013, the North-South economic growth has diverged significantly, behind which is the competition between traditional industries and the new economy, and the difference between the speed and slowness of opening up and innovation. In the central city of Wuhan, Hankou traditional commerce was prominent in the past, and the overall development is better than Wuchang. However, in recent years, Wuchang, which has many universities and high-tech industries, has risen rapidly.

  Hu Gang, the president of the South China Urban Research Association and a professor at Jinan University, told China Business News that in recent years, cities whose industrial structure is dominated by capital and technology have tended to develop relatively quickly. Guangzhou’s traditional industries account for a relatively high proportion, while emerging industries are not prominent; in addition, state-owned enterprises account for a relatively high proportion and the private economy is underdeveloped.

  Hu Gang believes that at the beginning of reform and opening up, Guangzhou was inferior to cities such as Tianjin and Chongqing, but later developed rapidly, mainly due to Guangzhou's leading reform atmosphere. However, in recent years, Guangzhou has taken fewer leading measures, and its aggressiveness and motivation have obviously weakened. This is worthy of reflection.

  Author: Lin Xiaozhao