Research Briefing | Oct 5, 2023

New economy cities defy some of the GDP slowdown in China

Recent months have been tough for China and its major cities. While year-on-year growth rates picked up in Q2, they were below expectations and, as a result, we have downgraded many of our estimates of GDP growth in 2023. However, our forecasts show significant divergences, with as many cities underperforming our national GDP growth expectations as overperforming.

What you will learn:

  • Cities heavily exposed to the housing downturn and the knock-on effect for consumer-related services are expected to have a more challenging year. In contrast, cities with strength in China’s new economy sectors, such as Hangzhou and Shenzhen, are expected to outperform.
  • The main challenge facing Chinese cities as they move into 2024 will be the property market downturn. The real estate sector looks more stable in some of the country’s major and most expensive cities, but the sector is likely to be at a low ebb for most of 2024.
  • We expect the growth outturns for consumer sectors to be significantly weaker in 2024 than in 2023. However, growth among sectors related to China’s new economy ambitions, such as advanced manufacturing and digital services, is forecast to remain robust. Cities with strength in these industries look set to outperform China’s average rate of economic growth in 2024.
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