Beijing A Global City

Beijing A Global City

Take a look at this useful aricle on the development of Beijing into a Global City.

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16 thoughts on “Beijing A Global City

  1. Beijing is described as a global city. What evidence is there of this?

    The world’s biggest, most interconnected cities help set global agendas, weather transnational dangers, and serve as the hubs of global integration. They are the engines of growth for their countries and the gateways to the resources of their regions. Under this analysis Beijing was placed 12th.

    In what ways does Beijing contribute to Chinas economy and its overall position in the world economy ?
    The Chinese economy has now reached such a size and is continuing to grow so rapidly that it is now being called the ‘new workshop of the world’. The foreign embassies of other countries are all located in Beijing and play an important role in discussions with China over trade and a wide range of other matters. More than 160 countries have an embassy in Beijing. Beijing has become an increasingly important centre for high technology. The Beijing Olympics was a major factor in boosting the economy in 2008. Hosting the Olympic Games was seen as a significant seal of international approval which the Chinese government and people were eager to receive. With global television coverage, not just during the Games themselves, but also in the important build-up period, China used the Games to showcase its many cultural and economic merits. It has highly developed machinery, textile and petrochemical sectors. Agriculture also plays a considerable role in Beijing’s economy, with a large farming belt on the city’s edge. Total tourism revenue reached 127.1 billion yuan, an increase of 14.6% for the same period. It is estimated that 154 million domestic and overseas tourists will visit Beijing in 2009 as a whole, generating a total revenue of 236 billion yuan.

    • Jess, you have made some great comments there an congratualtions for being the first person to comment on the GeogBlog! It is really interesting that you focus on the Olympic effect, I wonder what the Games will do for London’s standing in the world order?

  2. 1) What evidence is there that Beijing is a global city?
    In order for an area to be classified as a global city, they must come under numerous different categories. The city must be important in the global economic system and have importance to the operation of trade and finance across the globe. This is true for Beijing as it produces half of the world’s microwaves, two-thirds of all shoe’s, two-thirds of the world’s photocopiers, half of the world’s clothes and one-third of all mobile phones. This shows an extreme participation in trade across the world and by 2008 Beijing’s GDP was estimated at $146billion in 2008. With it’s highly developed machinery, textile and petrochemical sectors, the production and trade rates are ever growing.
    A global city should also have a variety of international financial services; such as banking and accountancy. The service industries in Beijing now account for 73% of the city’s economic activity. The service sector has rapidly grown and there are financial institutions in the city such as major insurance companies, investment companies and securities firms. Not only should a global city have a variety of services, but it should also be the home to headquarters of multinational corporations. This is true for Beijing as it is the headquarter site of The People’s Bank of China.
    However, not only economic factors decide whether a city can be classified as a global city. It must also participate politically with other countries across the world. There are more than 160 embassies in Beijing, with numerous international employees working in the city, meaning Beijing is a ‘diplomatic community’. As well as being a city of political importance, it also is the home to Tiananmen Square, an extremely famous and historical landmark. This is only one of the attractions that draw in the high number of tourists visiting the city annually. As well as the tourism from such well-known sites such as The Forbidden City, Beijing has also benefitted greatly from the 2008 Olympics being held in the city. This has contributed to Beijing being given the title of a global city as there is a strong sporting community and an increase in tourism was extremely noticeable. The good transport links of the city, such as the Intercity Railway, has enabled the city to be able to accommodate the needs of so many tourists.
    There are also more simple reasons as to why Beijing can be considered as a global city. For example it has an extremely large population of 17 million and is a reasonably large percentage of the world’s total population.

    2) In what ways does Beijing contribute to China’s economy and it’s overall position in the world economy?
    Beijing is China’s capital city as well as the second largest city in China, after Shanghai. Beijing has an increasing population as more and more people are migrating into the city in the search of jobs and perhaps a better lifestyle. By people living in the city they help the economy of the whole country through paying tax. Beijing’s GDP was estimated to have reached $146 billion in 2008 or $8000 per capita, which significantly above the Chinese average. This shows the amount in which Beijing contributes to China’s economy.
    However, the Olympics were also a drastic help in boosting the economy of the country. Despite the money that was spent towards infrastructure and transportation to accommodate the Olympics, it was all repaid by the extremely high number of tourist that visited the city in 2008. The money brought into the city through this tourism provided numerous jobs for those living in the city, in a number of different ways, such as taxi services and shops. And as well as individual improvement in business, there were also numerous new international hotels built in the city in preparation for the Olympics. The Beijing Tourist Administration estimated that the total number of tourists that visited the city in 2008 reached 85.4million, an increase of 20.8% on the previous year. It is estimated that 154 million domestic and overseas tourists will visit Beijing in 2009, generating a total revenue of 236 billion yuan. All of this tourism has supported China as a whole and ensured that it is economically secure.
    As well as the help of tourism and the Olympics, China also benefits from the 70 higher education institutions, located in Beijing. This means money is generated from the students (both from China and abroad), but also the outcome of having very well educated citizens means that perhaps they will bring more money to China as a whole, through their career paths, therefore improving the general economy of the country.

  3. Well summarised Katie, you have picked up on some really fundmental points relating to the reasons for Beijing’s success as a world city.

    Doubtless tourism is an important factor, in recent years this sector as swelled enormously in terms of both internal and international visitors. It was not that long ago that Chinese Nationals would have been had to request permission to travel within the country, still it is a small minority that can afford to travel.

  4. Beijing is described as a global city. What evidence is there in this Geofile for this?
    A global city is defined as an ‘important nodal point in the global economic system.’ Beijing is definitely one of, if not the, most important cities in China. It is served well by an international airport, a high speed railway to the port of Tianjin and national road links to all parts of China. In this way, it serves as the central hub for China and allows people from the rest of the country and the world to visit Beijing. The Chinese government is located in Beijing, along with embassies from 160 countries. This makes Beijing the centre for resolving any problems China may have with other countries. All of China’s affairs and foreign policies are controlled from Beijing, making it increasingly important as China progresses in the future. The city also has many cultural and historical features, including Tiananmen Square, which attracts visitors from all around the world. It also serves as an important figure in China’s recent history and commemorates the victims of the revolutionary struggle. Beijing is an important player in China’s economy and houses China’s main bank, along with many other major banks and financial institutions which play a huge role in the Chinese people’s lives. Beijing’s GDP, before the financial crisis, was higher than China’s national average, proving it has a booming economy. Being trusted with the Olympic Games in 2008 also cemented Beijing as a global city. They had to drastically improve infrastructure and transport services which continue to benefits citizens and attract people from all over the world.

    In what ways does Beijing contribute to China’s economy and its overall position in the world economy?
    China plays a huge role in the world economy, with some calling the 21st century, ‘China’s century.’ It is currently chasing the US to become the world’s largest economy. Manufacturing is huge in China with the country making half of the world’s microwaves, half of the world’s clothes and two-thirds of the world’s shoes, amongst other things. China’s international trade has risen from $1.13b in 1950 to $2,561.6b in 2008. This growth has been directed from Beijing, making the city a key player in China’s economy. Because China is not in a free market economy, the government is able to manage the economy and decides what China as a whole do, again solidifying Beijing as the most important factor in the economy. The Olympics, although they cost a lot to run, have and will continue to help China long into the future. They had to improve a lot of their transport and infrastructure which will enable China to accommodate more people, who in turn will work and boost the economy. The Olympics themselves attracted thousands of visitors, who again added to the growing economy. This was centered in Beijing, which benefited enormously. Visitors will continue to visit the sites in the future or to experience the city made famous by the Games. This will significantly boost the tourism industry for Beijing, which in turn will help the whole of China. The media attention on the Games have also changed China’s image to the world, maybe convincing more countries to trade more with them in the future – helping the economy. Although Shanghai or Shenzen may seem to many as the ‘manufacturing capitals’ of China, Beijing also plays an important role. It has highly developed machinery along with agriculture links on the edge of the city. Now, the city is a major service centre and service industries are 73% of Beijing’s economic activity. Due to the economic success, many banks and financial institutions have moved their head offices to China, reinforcing Beijing as a major part of the country’s overall economy. Finally, high technology has developed rapidly in the city due to the high numbers of human and technology resources. They are several prestigious universities in Beijing and much like Silicon Valley in California does with graduates from CalTech or Stanford, the technology companies want to be in the best position to hire young professionals. This has driven the economy in Beijing and increased it’s importance with respect to technology manufacturing in China.

    • Excellent Lucy, you clearly have a firm grasp of the criteria that make Beijing a worls city. This is an argument that suggests that it now has the right to sit on a level with the traditional global triad of London, New York and Tokyo. In fact its nearest ‘rival’ to sit amongst the elite group is probably Shanghai.

  5. 1. Beijing is described as a global city. What evidence is there to support this?

    Global cities are also defined as alpha cities or world centres, which play a fundamental role in global operations; whether political, manufacturing, scientific, cultural or economic. They may be ‘engines of growth’ for their country, and can greatly influence the dynamic of the surrounding regions. Beijing can be considered a global city, for many of the following reasons.

    As Beijing has been an urban centre for over 3000 years, it has developed many sites of cultural, political and historical significance, with a large concentration of World Heritage sites. For example, Tiananmen Square, constructed in 1949 as a display of the communist transformation, which attracts many foreign tourists.

    In terms of economy, Beijing can certainly be considered a world city; its economy continues to grow at a rapid rate as a result of a large population and intelligent investment in manufacturing. It is now the second largest industrial centre in China, with advanced machinery, textiles and petrochemical sectors. Its significance in global trade makes it a hub for international communication, where over 160 countries have situated their embassies in Beijing to contribute to ‘diplomatic community’. As the ‘seat of the Chinese government’ which controls all of China’s internal affairs, Beijing has a huge impact on the entire world, and so its political significance in the global community in indisputable, and with China’s population of over 1.3 billion, its power is great.

    With high-level technology after initial development in 1988, Beijing is now a centre for the service sector, and is the location of head offices for trans-national corporations such as The People’s Bank of China. The high quality of higher-level education gives Beijing good scope for the future of the service sector, and could lead to an increase in the prevalence of insurance, specialised banking and advertising firms, whose roles are integral to the Chinese economy.

    Perhaps the most significant confirmation of Beijing as a ‘global city’ was its selection as host of the 2008 Olympic games. This was seen by many as a ‘seal of international approval’, which showcased China’s merits and enabled China to demonstrate its global importance. It also stimulated an improvement of infrastructure to support the Games, which now propels Beijing towards further international acclaim.

    2. In what ways does Beijing contribute to China’s economy and its overall position in the world economy?

    As a large and economically powerful country with rapidly growing influence in trade and politics, China is defined by many as the ‘new workshop of the world’, with a vast scale of manufacturing, producing over half the world’s clothes and two-thirds of all shoes. Its international exports have risen from $1.13 billion in 1950 to over $2500 billion in 2008. Therefore Beijing’s economic input and output is of relevance globally.

    Beijing is a large and growing entity, with its GDP reaching $146 billion in 2008, and is the hub of China’s economy. It is the industrial centre of a country, sporting over 17 million people, and rapid growth of the service sector brings in new investment. In general, the economic growth of China is directed from Beijing, with a high level of government management, and so Beijing undeniably contributes greatly to China’s overall position in the world economy. This is emphasised by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which brought in investments in infrastructure, and new ecological conservation projects, as well as boosting tourism. This is integral to China’s economy, as a new range of international hotels help to draw in interest to an industry, which already generated an estimated 236 billion yuan in 2009 alone.

    • Good job Emma, you have focussed well on the question but also supplied lots of excellent details. You are correct economic growth in China has been exceptional in recent years with annual GDP rises of 10% or more. The extent of this growth has actually worried Government officials to a certain extent as infrastructure cannot keep up rapid economic change. For example, the growth of individual car ownership in Beijing means that the traffic congestion is terrible.

  6. 1. A global city is a city that plays an important role in the global economy and Beijing fits this description well. Beijing is full of business activity, whilst also being surrounded by an area of high agricultural work. A high percentage of the world’s products are maunufactured in the city, which is the seconded largest industrial centre (Shanghai being first). The city is also home to many fiancial headquaters, including China’s leading bank, The People’s Bank Of China, with many security and investment headquarters also being located here. Tourism is also an increasign sector of Beijing’s economy, mainly due to the promotion of the city through the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
    Beijing has strong political importance as China’s foreign policy and international affairs are both controlled from the city and many foreign embassies are located here too. Tianamen Square is a symbol of China’s change from a fuedal to a communist society, and is a greatly visited attraction.
    It provides the cultural experience of a global city by containg many World Heritage sites (such as the temple of heaven and the Peking Man site). It’s situated close to Tianjin port and surrounded by the Yanshan mountains. Beijing has good transport serives, as it is known as China’s main international air transport hub. The citie’s many universities encourage the younegr generations to carry on to higher education whislt also attracting foreign students to the city.

    2. China’s economy is the fastest growing economy in the world and is often refered to as the “new workshop of the world”. Beijing contributes to the increasing economy of China in many ways. The importance of the government in Beijing has meant that the majority of economic growth has risen from the city, whilst being carefully watched over by government authorities. With a GDP of $8000 per capita in 2008, Beijing’s GDP is above China’s average and despite the global financial crisis in 2009, has still managed to remain relatively high.
    The cities highly technological machinery has allowed its industrial sector to coem secodn only to Shanghai. However, in recent eyarsthe industrial sector has been overtaken by the rapidly increasing service sector, which has helped to boost the econmoy in a deifferent area, focussing more on business and investment. The agricultural belt that surrounds Beijing has also helped to boost and diversify China’s econmy.
    China’s top institution in banking, the “People’s Bank of China”, has its headquarters located in Beijing, as being in a global city helps the bankt o create many international links. Many security, insurance and investment institutions also have headquarters located in Beijing for the same reason. The appeal of Beijing as a tourist destination was greatly increased due to the promotion of the city duringt he 2008 Beijing Olympics. This has boosted the importance of China’s tourism sector and this has had a major impact on imcreasign the economy of China. In 2009, tourism in Beijing generated a total revenue of 236 billion yuan. Tourism has also allowed China to spend more money on improving services, as this in turn attracts more tourists.
    The Beijing “New Technologies Development Experimental Zone” helps China to develop its technological economy. The universities in the city of Beijing create a generation with the skills to to improve the future economy of China even further and allows foreign students to be intergrated into the population of Beijing.

    • Well summarised Rosie, you have clearly engaged well with this article. You pick up on the new technologies development zones, one of the main aims of these is for China to start producing higher end products that gain a higher financial return. In the past much of China’s manufacturing has been of a lower grade nature such as toys, textiles, plastic goods etc. The production of these items is now being spread to emerging economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

  7. 1. The Geofile defines a global city as on which plays “a major role in global affairs in terms of politics, economics and culture”. As Beijing is the capital city of China, it already plays a large part in the country’s politics, economics and culture but there are further reasons why it is a global city.

    It seems that there is a link between economic growth and political importance. As China’s economy has continued to expand and develop rapidly, so has its power and position in world politics. As China is not a free market economy, the government has been able to maintain high levels of control over the direction and growth of the national economy. The Chinese government are based in Beijing and therefore it is the centre for both national political decisions and international relations. More than 160 countries have an embassy in Beijing which not only are key resources for discussions over trade but also facilitate talks when China is in disagreement with another country. This enables controlled and peaceful discussions to take place to try and resolve any issues.

    Beijing is a strong industrial centre which produces machinery, textiles, petrochemical products and new technology for export around the world so international trade links are strong. It is also home to a number of major international banks and insurance companies so there is a high level of economic activity. Tourism plays a large part in Beijing’s economy with an estimated 154 million tourists in 2009. The growth in tourism has put Beijing on the map and created further international business. Beijing’s cultural and historical sites are one reason why many tourists choose to visit the city every year. Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City are just two of the many sites that attract visitors. The 2008 Olympic games drew the world’s attention to Beijing and everything it has to offer, and the developments in transport and infrastructure which took place prior to the Games have enabled the city’s tourism industry to grow. For example, there are many more international hotels and a third terminal at Beijing Capital Airport has enabled many more passenger and cargo flights to land in the city, boosting the economy.

    2. Beijing has grown in size and population over the last few decades due to high rates of rural-urban migration and this growth has allowed the city’s economy to continue to expand. Beijing has played a huge role in the development of China’s economy as a whole because growth has been managed by the Chinese government from their base in Beijing. It is the second most important industrial centre in China, after Shanghai, and so it exports large amounts to countries all over the world. This is good for China’s economy because it generates large amounts of income and may also encourage further international investment in the area, for example in the Beijing New Technologies Development Experimental Zone.

    Perhaps more important is the development in Beijing’s service sector, which now accounts for 73% of the city’s economic activity. The head office for the main bank in China, The People’s Bank of China, is located in Beijing along with many other major services and TNCs so it is a very important city both for China and for the rest of the world. There are more than 70 universities in China, some of which are world class, and therefore it is training the best people for the future who are likely to continue China’s success. The city is connected to all parts of China by good road links enabling economic activity and exchange between regions.

    The increase in tourism following the Olympic Games has contributed to China’s economy as in 2009 it was estimated to have generated 236 billion yuan. This may have encouraged tourists to visit other parts of China and so the nations’ tourism industry may have grown as a whole. As Beijing’s GDP reached 1 trillion yuan in 2008, an increase of 9%, it is clear that the economy is doing well. Retail sales hit 450 billion whilst 420,000 new jobs were created which may reduce unemployment and ensure that revenue continues to be generated. As the city, the country and the economy continue to grow, there is more scope for further investment and development in the future.

    • Great work Ailsa, this is a very comprehensive review of the article and it contains some excellent detail. You refere to China’s market as not being free, the nature of trade in China has changed vastly over the last 20 years or more. You are right the restrictions are quite different to those experienced in western economies but Chinese border have opened up massively in recent times.

  8. 1. Beijing has been placed 12th in the ‘Global Cities Index’, based on its business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement. It has been an urban centre for 3000 years and the country’s capital for more than 850 years. It holds many important world heritage sites and is also situated very near the port city of Tianjin. Beijing has grown rapidly over the last half century due to rural-urban migration. It has a population of 17 million in total and in the city’s urban area; a population of 13 million, compared to London’s 7.7 million. Chinas population is also 19.6% of the world’s total population. It is seen as the seat of the Chinese government and all of China’s internal affairs and foreign policies are controlled from Beijing. More than 160 countries have their embassies located here. Beijing held the 2008 Olympic Games, which was seen as a significant seal of international approval as well as reducing foreigners’ misconceptions about China. It is an increasingly important sector for high technology. Zhongguancun is Beijing’s district with the highest concentration of universities and research institutes in China. It houses the most prominent science park where many of the most dynamic indigenous companies were born. Beijing holds over 70 establishments of higher education, attracting an increasing number of foreign students. It holds China’s main international air transport hub and is the main hub for China’s national flagship carrier, Air China, which flies to around 120 passenger destinations. There are also 9 expressways which connect with Beijing and 11 China national highways, as well as holding an elaborate network of 5 ring roads. Lastly, Beijing is the leading global electric automobile research and development centre.

    2. China produces half of the world’s microwaves, two thirds of all shoes, two thirds of photocopiers, half of the world’s clothes and a third of all mobile phones. The majority of this manufacturing is for export all over the world. The value of China’s international trade has risen from $1.3 billion in 1950 to $2,561.6 billion in 2008. The growth of China’s economy has been carefully directed from Beijing with a high level of government management that doesn’t occur in free market economies, such as the USA, japan, Germany and the UK. Beijing’s GDP was estimated to have reached $146 billion in 2008 or $8000 per capita, which is significantly above the Chinese average. The Olympics was a major factor in boosting China’s economy in 2008, with the global financial crisis coming into play in late 2008 and 2009. Beijing is an important industrial centre, with highly developed machinery, textile and petrochemical sectors. There’s also a large farming belt on the city’s edge which is where agriculture plays a big role in the economy. The economy has undergone a massive transformation in recent decades, from one dominated by industry to a major service centre, service industries now account for 73% of Beijing’s economic activity. The service sector has grown hugely; the People’s Bank of China also has a head office in Beijing. The city is also the location of a variety of specialised banks including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China. Other financial institutes in the city include major insurance companies, credit cooperatives, security firms and investment companies. The range of international hotels has expanded significantly and tourism is also an expanding aspect of the economy.

    • Excellent work Alice, this is a really thorough summary of the issues. It is really interesting to note that China has been mostly unaffected by the ‘global’ financial crisis, in fact in China they actually refere to it as the North Atlantic financial crisis.

  9. 1) Beijing is described as a global city. What evidence is there in this Geofile for this?

    A global city is ‘one which is judged to ban important nodal point in the global economic system’. When the American Journal ‘Foreign Policy’ was published in 2008 and contained the ‘Global city index’, the rankings were based over 5 measures: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement. Beijing is a hub for China’s business district and has main transport links between Beijing and Tianjin (an intercity railway). Tianjin is a port city and is 140km away from Beijing, giving easy access to the imports and exports from cities like Beijing. Another reason why Beijing is regarded as a Global city is because it is the centre of all of China’s international affairs and foreign policy, making the government more and more important because of the huge population of 1,331.4 million people in China. Foreign Embassies are all located in Beijing, creating political importance of the city, meaning that if there was a problem between China and the UK, this would be the first call to try and settle an agreement, and since Chinas importance and status in the world is rising, this embassy is becoming more and more important. Another factor why Beijing is regarded as a global city is that the city possesses some sites of great political and culture importance, such as major government buildings Large museums the Forbidden city, and the Temple of Heaven. One last point why Beijing is regarded as a global city is because lots of firms hold their main headquarters in Beijing and Beijing’s Service sector has expanded dramatically over the past couple of years. Beijing holds the head office to the People’s Bank of China, which is a major banking system in China. It also includes firms such as major insurance companies, credit cooperatives, and investment firms.

    2) In what ways does Beijing contribute to China’s economy and its overall position in the world economy?

    Since Beijing is placed 12th in the global city index, I think that the ranking has some overall contribution to China’s economy and overall contribution. First, Beijing’s economy. Beijing’s economy was estimated to have reached $146 billion in 2008 which is significantly higher than the Chinese average. One major factor to this was the Beijing 2008 Olympics which helped to boost the economy of China when the global financial crisis happened in 2008. When Beijing was selected for the 2008 Olympics, this allowed planned investment to be pulled forward ahead of schedule, allowing Chinas to become more developed quicker. Although the Olympics was a key part to success in allowing Beijing to expand, Beijing has also become a key industrial centre, second in china to Shanghai. It is highly developed in manufacturing, including machinery, textiles and the petrochemical sector. This has been made possible because of the vast amount of cheap labour in China and flexible government regulations, causing companies to move manufacturing over to China. Agriculture also plays a huge role in the economy, mainly because of Beijing’s location. Beijing has a large area of farming belt on the cities edge allowing it to be transported easily. China is most widely kjnown for its manufacturing where it produces: half od the world’s mircowaves, 2/3 of all shoes. 2/3 of all photocopiers, ½ worlds clothes and 1/3 of mobile phones. The value of trade in China has risen from $1.13billion in 1950 to $2561.6 billion in 2008. China also has a lot of tourists every year, visiting major cities like Hong Kong. Beijing also plays a key part in this. The number of tourist who visited Beijing in 2009 reached 85.4% and at the end of 2009 the totoal revenue for the Tourism industry in Beijing was expected to be 236 billion yuan. The last way in which Beijing contributes to China’s overall position in the world is the number of prestigious universities. Beijing is home to over 70 establishments of higher education including Perking University which is the top university in China. The number of students entering higher education in China is rising, but Beijing is attracting a growing number of foreign students, improving the international status of the universities.

    • Great work Katie, this is a really comprehensive review. The basic criteria that are used in this article to define what a global city is are very interesting and with reference to Beijing political engagement is very hard to quantify. With a rising student population I wonder how this measure will alter in the future?

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