29 July 2011

China SignPost™ (洞察中国) #41: How Do the Economic Outputs of China’s 8 Most Productive Cities Compare to Those of U.S. Cities?

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “How Do the Economic Outputs of China’s 8 Most Productive Cities Compare to Those of U.S. Cities?,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 41 (29 July 2011).

China SignPost™ 洞察中国–“Clear, high-impact China analysis.”©

Economic discussions involving the U.S. and China often focus on national-level matters such as currency valuation, duties, and trade policy. Yet decisions and economic activity at the local level are immensely important, as they form the building blocks of a strong national economy. This analysis therefore takes nominal  gross metropolitan product (GMP) data from the eight most productive Chinese cities from 2009, the last year for officially reported data, and compares it to 2009 GMP data from U.S. cities. We chose eight cities because of the number 8’s significance as a sign of good fortune in Chinese culture.

Chinese cities are growing impressively, while many of their U.S. counterparts are struggling to recover from a hard-hitting recession. In 2009, Shanghai’s US$221 billion in economic output put it on par with Seattle (Exhibit 1). Based on IMF data, Shanghai’s purchasing power parity adjusted economic output in 2009 was worth approximately US$400 billion—roughly equivalent to Washington DC and larger than Dallas or Houston. In total, these eight cities accounted for slightly over 20% of China’s GDP. …