China’s urbanization brings progress and challenges

Shanghai which is China’s economic powerhouse. The city’s wealth is built on the labor of migrant workers.

China’s fast economic growth has sped up urbanization. And rural migrants have flowed to big cities like Shanghai, for jobs and a chance to make it big. This economic upheaval also comes at a human cost.

For our special series “What is China,” CGTN’s reporters Han Bin and Nathan King find out in different directions.

Ma Yunqi lives on the edge of the city, and on the edge of poverty. He rents this room with his wife, who’s also a migrant worker.

Leaving home is a choice of economic necessity. And the emotional cost is tremendous.

Ma Yunqi’s family is in a village in Anhui Province, more than 10 hours away by bus. His 7 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son, live with their grandparents.

It’s a common situation for “left behind children” and the elderly in rural China. Living conditions are poor, as the countryside has few resources.

Migrant workers like Ma Yunqi can’t see a brighter future ahead. But they are grateful to be able to support loved ones back home.

China’s cities have been undergoing a rapid economic and social evolution, at a speed and on a scale which are unprecedented. Migrant workers have acted as both a cause and effect of the urbanization.

For some the Chinese dream has already been achieved, and they own homes in Beijing and invest globally and perhaps one of the ultimate status symbols buying property abroad-we went to one of the big destinations of Chinese capital in the U.S.-Seattle and saw first-hand how affluent Chinese can afford luxury on the other side of the Pacific.

Chinese buyers looking at Seattle real estate will likely already know Mei Yang – the Nanjing native knows what Chinese buyers are looking for -even down to an auspicious price tag.

Driving around the affluent Seattle suburbs of Bellevue and Medina, Mei said good schools, the presence of tech giants like Amazon, and soon a branch of Tsinghua University, makes it a hot market for Chinese looking to invest.

On a wooded hilltop we meet Chloe Hou from Henan Province – a very young Chinese entrepreneur- she’s turning this hilltop into a housing development aimed at young families flocking to this area.

Mei Yang said some Seattle residents are concerned that Chinese investment is pushing up prices – making homes too expensive. But many U.S. sellers in the Seattle area are knocking on her door, knowing that she has good connections to wealthy Chinese buyers.

Chinese real estate investment in the US gets a lot of headlines-what doesn’t is the number of jobs it helps to create in construction retail the legal and financial sector not to mention the wealth it creates for all the sellers to Chinese citizens.


This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.


China’s urbanization brings progress and challenges

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