Regularly we read of massive investment and expenditure by the Chinese government. President Xi JinPing’s huge “One Belt One Road” project involves billions of dollars, as it focusses on infrastructure investment outside of China, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel. This project alone encompasses around 60 countries, and Wikipedia claims “anticipated cumulative investment over an indefinite timescale is variously put at US$4 trillion or US$8 trillion.” At the same time there are other Chinese domestic projects on a massive scale – building a new city south of Beijing, high-speed railways springing up everywhere, the list goes on and on. 

Perhaps you have wondered how China pays for all this massive investment expenditure. Where does all that money come from? Stratfor recently offered one explanation which is in plain view of the whole world, and yet little noticed. China, the article stated, has 35 cities whose economies are as big as whole countries in Asia and Europe and elsewhere! It is not just that China has the largest population in the world (1.4 billion) or that its geographical territory is the third largest in the world, but within the nation there are huge and powerful cities. For example, Shanghai’s economy is the same as the economy of the entire nation of the Philippines ($810 billion of GDP). Guangzhou alone has an economy the size of Switzerland, Shenzhen an economy the size of Sweden. Suzhou’s economy is the size of Austria; Chengdu the size of Norway; Hangzhou the size of Greece. Wenzhou, a city whose reputation is that of a bustling export hub, is in fact well down on the list of the 35 most wealthy cities listed (actually only listed in 34th place!), and is still the same size in its economy as Croatia. Even one city that I’d never heard of, Zibo, has an economy the size of Panama!

But there is more. Stratfor goes on to say: “It’s also important to remember that these cities don't exist in isolation, and are instead cogs in the wheels of larger mega-regions. Such areas would be comparable to the Northeast U.S., in which New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. are all hours apart and remain largely integrated as a regional economy.” Stratfor lists the three main mega-regions

* “Yangtze River Delta with a combined GDP of $2.17 trillion, which is an economy comparable to Italy (the Yangtze River Delta contains cities like Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Ningbo, and Changzhou.)

* Pearl River Delta has a combined GDP of $1.89 trillion, which is comparable to South Korea (the Pearl River Delta has cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, and Macao.)

 * Beijing-Tianjin has a combined GDP of $1.14 trillion, which is comparable to Australia. (This mega-region holds the two largest cities in northern China, Beijing and Tianjin.)”

China’s economic power is staggering and ever-growing. For Christians inside and outside of China, such influence needs to be mediated with strong prayer that the Lord would overrule in its impact on other nations in its region and beyond.

(Material from Stratfor Enterprises LLC derived from Jeff Desjardins for Visual Capitalist)

  • Pray for wisdom for the Chinese government as it seeks to govern this economic powerhouse spread across so many cities.
  • Pray for social stability in China, as there are many who are outside of this huge wealth, even living in poverty.  
  • Pray that church and believers in China would see the rise of China and it huge oversees influence as a door and a path to take the Gospel out of China to the nations of the world.