While according to statistics, 39 million Chinese tourists traveled during the first half of this year. They would travel to 78 million by 2012 and 100 million in 2020. But where to find these Chinese travelers?
If, today, Chinese tourists come mainly from the cities of the east coast of China, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that China count 13 megacities (with from 10 million) by 2020. With an urbanization rate exceeding 50% in 2011, the expansion of the urban population is expected to continue for at least another decade. These 13 megacities represent nearly a third set of the total urban population of China by the end of the decade.
Development has spread throughout the country. Today, the most dynamic cities are no longer all on the east coast. Migrants are young. This year, nearly 60% of the metropolitan population was between 15 and 29 years, with just over 1% of the population aged over 65 years.
The megalopolis inner Zhengzhou, for example, remains a relatively young city in ten years. 32% of the population are less than 30 years, against 25% in Guangzhou. Levels of disposable income vary considerably. Less than half (49%) of the residents of the metropolis of Chongqing is included in the middle class in 2020, against 67% in Wuhan. Compared to the national average, megacities will continue to maintain a relatively high proportion of residents of working age, above the national average of 70%.
Provinces within the country have far exceeded the rest of the country in 2011 with an overall GDP growth of 14.1%, against an average of 10.5% on the east coast. In 2010, three megacities have emerged, Guangzhou-Foshan-Zhaoqing, Shenzhen in Guangdong province and Shenyang in northeastern Liaoning.
Shanghai has the highest proportion of middle class, more than 70%. Beijing and Xi'an are not far behind at 69%. According to the EIU, presumably, the metropolis Xi'an West will make impressive gains, exceeding the Guangdong and Shandong on the east coast for the middle class. Xi'an will prove the strongest emerging cities in terms of the spread of prosperity.