Mastercard recently came out with its list of the 65 key cities driving growth in emerging markets worldwide. Fifteen Chinese cities made the list. (h/t China Business Blog)
The top ten cities worldwide were as follows:
1 Shanghai China
2 Beijing China
3 Budapest Hungary
4 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
5 Santiago Chile
6 Guangzhou China
7.Mexico City Mexico
8 Warsaw Poland
9 Bangkok Thailand
10 Shenzhen China
I like that list.
The fifteen Chinese cities that made the list are as follows:
1 Shanghai
2 Beijing
6 Guangzhou
10 Shenzhen
16 Xiamen
17 Chengdu
18 Dalian
20 Tianjin
20 Nanjing
22 Hangzhou
23 Wuhan
24 Chongqing
25 Qingdao
26 Xian
27 Harbin
Mastercard’s listing report is actually quite good, as it goes well beyond the typical world city list by actually doing a good job explaining its criteria and by setting out all kinds of sub-lists. And though I might quibble a bit about the ranking of China’s cities, I cannot think of even one that was unfairly left out. Can you?

Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog ( Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.

  • Kai

    Isn’t that VISA’s motto? Heh.

  • greg

    Foreign Policy has published a list of “2008 Global Cities” ( It does not focus only on business and commerce, but there are significant overlaps of measurements: business activity, information exchange, human capital. There are 60 cities ranked.
    The survey is designed and conducted by A.T. Kearney, The Chicago Council of Global Affairs, and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive.
    The Chinese cities that made the list:
    12 Beijing
    20 Shanghai
    52 Guangzhou
    54 Shenzhen
    59 Chongqing
    I didn’t list Hong Kong (5) since it is not considered an emerging market by MasterCard list.
    Moscow (19) is the only other emerging market city in the top 20 of the Foreign Policy list.
    For a large country like China, it makes much more sense to focus on regions/cities than country, particularly when the economic developments in China are so uneven. I would say, between country and city, it’s probably more appropriate to talk about regions and city clusters.
    Two emerging trends to watch closely in China is the formation of the city clusters and industrial clusters within a region. The three biggest city clusters in China are the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Bohai Bay. The provincial and city governments within the three regions are consciously pushing for regional integration. Within five years, the cities within the three regions will be linked by high-speed intercity rails and light-rails. There have been talks about 2-hours “living circles.”
    Yangtze River Delta:
    Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou plus dozens of cities around them. They will be linked by 200-300 km/h high-speed rail services. There is also a plan to connect Shanghai and Hangzhou by Maglev which takes about 30 minutes to travel between the two.
    Pearl River Delta:
    Guangzhou has just published a revised metro and light-rail plan for public comments last week. The plan ambitiously extends the network to nearby cities with a clear objective to integrate the cities in the region.
    Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Zhuhai-Hongkong and the cities around them will form a A-shape intercity rapid transit network and will be within 1 hour of each other in a few years.
    Bohai Bay:
    Beijing-Tianjin has already been linked by a 350 km/h high-speed intercity rail service, the fastest operating train in the world. It’s been operating at 15-minute interval and booked to full capacity almost all the time.
    The next step is to link Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Zhangjiakou and Chengde with high-speed rail service, all around one hour of travel.
    It’s going to be fascinating to observe how these city clusters evolve in China in the next 5-10 years.

  • Rodriguez

    Yes, i can think of two:
    The former has traditionally been underrated, so I’m not surprised it was once again overlooked.

  • I am not surprised by the failure to include the two above cities at all, they don’t belong on that list. I am a bit surprised by 2 inclusions and 2 that weren’t included. To me, Suzhou has been developing at a faster clip than Hangzhou and is slowly becoming basically a suburb of Shanghai. Also, it’s more or less anecdotal, but I feel that Shenyang’s expansion and development is far more important in Dongbei than that of Harbin. Other than that, things look pretty much like they should.

  • What about Changsha, which the CCP is making in to a Green City as well as a Tech Capital?