China’s Li Keqiang about urbanization

September 29, 2013

Economy, Elizabeth C. 2013, September 10. China’s Li Keqiang on the urbanization warpath. Asia Unbound. (accessed 19 September 2013)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on the urbanization warpath. For Li, urbanization—transforming rural Chinese into urban dwellers—has become perhaps the most important issue of his early months as premier. Most recently, on September 7, in advance of November’s Party Plenum to lay out the country’s economic blueprint, he met with a group of experts to discuss urbanization strategies. Scarcely a month goes by where he does not give a speech or offer some commentary on the issue. For Li, successfully urbanizing China is at the heart of the country’s ability to continue to grow economically. He notes that urban residents spend 3.6 times more than rural residents, for example, underscoring the importance of urbanization to China’s economic rebalancing from an investment and export led to   consumption-based economy. His remarks in March 2013 make clear his fears that if China does not find the correct urbanization path forward, it will fall into the trap of many Latin American countries with “dual” urban structures characterized by “urban slums” and “other social problems.”

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Monique Abud

Librarian - Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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This blog aims at identifying the latest news on four specific themes regarding urbanisation in China: the institutional foundations and policies for urbanisation, the territorial expansion of Chinese cities, the infrastructures and services for sustainable urbanisation, the building of urban communities. It will also provide information on ongoing research within the FP7 Project UrbaChina – Sustainable urbanisation in China: Historical and comparative perspectives, Mega-trends towards 2050.