Top 10 fading cities in China

The website of the People’s Daily has recently released the ranking of Top 10 fading cities in China. These cities on the list were once magnificent and top cities in China, with the passage of time, for some reasons they are no longer attracting as much concern as they were before. Revisiting these fading cities may assist further thinking of the long-term development of a city.

NO. 10 Changchun (Fading index: 8.2)

Changchun street

Changchun historically was the capital of Manchu Nation. After the foundation of PRC, the earliest automobile industry was settled in Changchun together with Shenyang, Anshan and Daqing. They were known as the pride of the People’s Republic if China. Since the economy reform started from the 1980s, the automotive industry witnessed a significant decline in Changchun. It was passed gradually by the newcomers such as Shanghai (base of GM), Tianjin (base of Toyota), Guangzhou (base of Honda) and other cities which developed rapidly through the use of foreign capital.

NO. 9 Jinan (Fading index: 8.4)


Jinan as the capital of Shandong Province has long been the Shandong Province’s economic leader as well as a famous historic city. Unfortunately, the rise of another economic star, Qungdao, had completely bring down this great city, and broke an old dream of Jinan. Relying on the coastal port advantage and taking advantage of the chance of reform and opening up, Qingdai had surpassed Jinan as the economic center.

NO. 8 Fuzhou (Dading index: 8.6)

fuzhou street

Similar to Jinan, Fuzhou is also a capital of a rather developed coastal province, Fujian. Though it still ranked the first in term of economic capacity within the province, its fading is relative when compared with Xiamen, which is highly competitive and known to the world. Fuzhou is probably the most neglected capital city.

NO. 7 Shijiazhuang (Fading Index: 8.8)

Shijiazhuang street

Shijizhuang inherited the title of capital city of Hebei from Baoding and Tianjin due to the historical reasons. Unfortunately, even as a provincial capital, Shijiazhuang never attracts the focus of Hebei in comparison of Tangshan which relied closeness to Beijing and Tianjin as well as the Bohai Sea, the competitiveness of Tangshan is also enhanced by the newly discovered oil field.

NO. 6 Nanchang (fading index: 9.0)

nanchang street

As a red city (origin of a number of uprisings and revolutions), is still a lagged behind city in term of economy. It seems that Nanchang should raise an economic uprising.

NO. 5 Wuhan (fading index: 9.2)

Wuhan street

Since the Westernization Movement in the Qing Dynasty, Wuhan had been one of the largest industrial and commercial cities. During the Republic of China, Wuhan was known as the “Chicago in the East” because of its famous industries and trading business. After the founding of the PRC, Wuhan was still one of the top ten cities in China which lasted for a long period of time. But since the 1990s, economic retreat in Wuhan has been obvious, the per-capita income levels is quite low compared with other major cities.

NO. 4 Hohhot (fading Index: 9.4)

Hohhot street

Hohhot is the capital city of Inner Mongolia which has never been a leading province in term of economic development in China and the economic competition is also not fierce. The fading status of Hohhot has majorly been caused by the rising of Baotou which also won the title of “National Civilized City”.

NO. 3 Harbin (fading index 9.6)

Harbin ice

Harbin raised at the beginning of the 20th century during the war-time. Its development was very rapid in the early years of the Republic of China, Harbin had become China’s super-metropolis. Throughout the Harbin city, there are many Russian architecture making the city well known as the “Oriental Moscow”. It was believed that the western style Harbin was as famous as cities like Shanghai and Tianjin. However, with the fading of the northeast region as a whole, Harbin faded out quietly. Now a lot of people simply will not mention Harbin while talk about China’s top ten cities.

NO. 2 Nanjing (fading Index 9.8)

nanjing street

Nanjing was as famous and important as Beijing in the Ming Dynasty which explained why its name is similar to Beijing. But since the Nanjing massacre, it took a long time for the city to recover, leading to the embarrassing situation in Nanjing today. Nanjing’s GDP volume had been surpassed by Suzhou and Wuxi in the same province, nor to mention Beijing.

NO. 1 Xi’an (the fading Index 10)

xian street

Xi’an is the Lost City in China, it was once the ancient capital of the Han and Tang Dynasties in Chinese history, and the economic center of China for more than eight hundred years. Its fading started in the Song Dynasty, but during the Republic of China, Xi’an was still leading the northwest China, and at the beginning of the founding of PRC, Xi’an was still one of the top ten cities in China. Now Xi’an is even not in the list of top 40 in the country in term of total GDP, its per-capita GDP and per capita income level had been surpassed by a number of rising cities such as Urumqi.

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