China to turn Beijing into a megacity



Titles in the press say a lot about what you can expect from “Jing-Jin-Ji“, the new megacity which will include Beijing, Tianjin and parts of Hebei and which is expected to count over 100 million inhabitants:

  • “China is building a megacity that will be larger than all of Japan”
  • “The new 100-million-person Beijing megacity”
  • “China Is turning Beijing into a megacity 6x the size of NYC”
  • “Big Plans: A Chinese Megacity, Pop. 130 Million”
  • “China to expand Beijing into 82,000 square mile megacity”
  • “One super-megacity that will house the equivalent of a third of the US population in an area that’s the geographical size of Kansas”
  • The “Beijing Seventh Ring Road per Wikipedia, “a megacity is defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of ten million people”. Back in 2011, when China announced the creation of a megacity in Guangdong province, including 9 cities around the Pearl River Delta and only 42 millions people, it was then the world’s biggest megacity… Today, in comparison with the 130 millions inhabitants of Beijing’s megacity, it almost looks ridiculous!

Megacities are actually part of China’s strategy: China plan is to create megacities with 50 million to 100 million people:
– Beijing–Tianjin region
– the Yangtze River Delta in central China (Shanghai and Nanjing)
– the Pearl River Delta in the south (Guangzhou and Shenzhen)
and “small” city clusters of 10 million to 25 million. 


What to expect from the “Jing-Jin-Ji” megacity?

The name of the megacity China planned around Beijing says actually a lot about the geographical limits of this huge city: centred on Beijing (JING) and including the port of Tianjin (JIN) and southern Hebei province (JI, which is the ancient name for the Hebei province). Here are some of the key actions that will come together with the implementation of this megacity.

  • hqdefaultImproved transportation infrastructures: high-speed rail lines will allow traveling between any two points in less than an hour. In the past years, public transportation (high-speed rail and subway) and roads have encountered failures in connecting infrastructures around Beijing.
  • New cerebral centre for Beijing City Government: the plan is to move bureaucracy, as well as many hospitals and factories to Tongzhou and Baoding suburbs.This has already lead to an increase in real estate prices in this area. Markets should also move in this area (Zoo market, Yashow market, Russian market). The objective for Beijing city itself is to focus on political, cultural and high tech industries, the high end functions, while having non-core activities such as hospitals, schools and heavy industries moved to other provinces.
  • The Jing-Jin-Jin, as a solution to address capital’s strict residency limits: as city government and many facilities will move out from the city centre, it should solve as well property prices, but also lead to a better geographical distribution of well paid jobs and improve traffic congestion. Besides, hospitals, schools, and transportation are under seized in some Beijing suburbs, such as Yanjiao and should benefit from the unified approach towards public facilities management. More and more young people prefer to live and work in cities around Beijing considering the opportunities offered by the megacity, including the improvement of their daily life.
  • A way to force regions that have never cooperated to work together. All areas will be covered, including hospitals cooperation and pollution management, with the move of over 1200 pollution-causing businesses out of the urban centre.
  • beijing-seventh-ring-road-01The “Beijing Seventh Ring Road”: So far, it only exists in the minds of urban planners: It will consist of two separate roads:
    • One 940 kilometres long road going from Chengde to Zhangjiakou (Zhangcheng expressway)
    • and another 1250 kilometres long road going through Zhangjiakou, Zhuozhou, Langfang, Tianjin, Miyun, Xinglong, Chengde (Zhangzhuo expressway) – many portions of this axis have already been completed.
  • Better balanced economical development: in poorer mountain areas around Beijing, the city is trying to develop industries like tourism. 2022 Winter Olympics are definitely part of this strategy.
  • Water supply challenge: As reported by New York Times, water supply will be the major pain in Beijing’s efforts to create a megacity. Whatever the choices that will be made by the Chinese authorities to secure water supply for the megacity, it will cost a lot; two main options are being considered: bring water from the North or desalination. Besides, Beijing is encountering water-storms during summer and infrastructures are not seized to handle large precipitations and make use of the water from the rain.
    A Water fund has been launched end of August 2015 (China Mega-City Water Fund) and will manage different actions in the area of water sources, fundamental operations… 


If you are still wondering whether or not the Jing-Jin-Ji is a reality or not, and when it will happen, keep in mind that Chinese authorities said it should be implemented within 6 years, starting from mid 2015… actually, many actions are being implemented today: the megacity Jing-Jin-Ji is already a reality!
If you travel around the megacity, you may have noticed that roaming fees roaming fees for cross-district phone calls within the Jing-Jin-Ji have disappeared since last August 1st.


Expatriates living in Beijing may also wonder how the megacity could impact their life 

As per China Daily, “According to the guidelines, Beijing will remain the political, cultural, innovative and diplomatic centre while Tianjin will host national research and development base for advanced manufacturing, a hub for international shipping in North China, a zone for financial innovation and services, and a pilot zone for economic reform and Hebei will receive industry transformation and logistics”.

The recent changes in residence permits regulations may also be part of the Jing-Jin-Ji becoming a reality: residence permit renewal in Beijing (waiting times reduced from 15 days to ten) and more allocations of resident permits that allow holders to live in the city from two to five years. Actually China wants to attract specific foreigners holding positions ranked from vice-president and up  or who are technology experts or are members of either the government-backed 1,000 Talent Plan or the national Recruitment Program of Global Experts.

Obviously, if the pollution is reduced in Beijing down-town or the traffic is improved, we will all benefit from the Jing-Jin-Ji!



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I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!