China has become the world’s largest urban nation, with over 600 million urban citizens today. Projections indicate that this level may reach 900 million in 2030. The way this urbanisation process is managed will have important policy implications for China and beyond. This paper provides an introduction to urban trends and policies in China. It describes urban growth trends, where and in what kinds of cities growth is occurring, how China’s cities are governed, and how public policy has influenced the extent, pace, and spatial distribution of urbanisation. As China continues to integrate with the globalising economy, its competitiveness will increasingly be driven by the capacities of its metropolitan regions to improve the productivity of enterprises in ever-widening supply chains. The report concludes with a description of some of the key policy challenges facing central and local urban governments in this global context, including: 1) institutional constraints to markets and factor mobility; 2) environmental challenges; 3) ensuring equity and helping vulnerable groups; and 4) metropolitan governance.
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