A World Bank report released earlier this year featured a jarring statistic: However, growth in the capacity of cities to accommodate industrial growth seems to be flattening. With a rising middle class and booming demand for automobilesAsian cities can expect no relief from congestion, and this may be a deterrent for businesses.
Rural areas are increasingly prepared to absorb this potential shift in demand. Urban population share has been rising consistently in most countries of this study.
By contrast, Vietnam, India, and the Philippines have Meaningful growth and penetration in rural slower to urbanize, with the latter declining since Part of this variation reflects differences in definitions and measurements of urbanization across countries and time, but the underlying pattern remains clear: Figure 1 Data source: That urbanization correlates with economic growth is a point rarely overlooked. Indeed, the two have supported one another since the emergence of capital- and labor-intensive manufacturing during the industrial revolution.
Borne of historic growth patterns, this logic has been used to support predictions of continued industrial urbanization and policies that promote it. However, remote penetration of connective infrastructure — including both transportation and communications — is replacing old growth models with a new rural industrialization.
The following data support this claim. The urban growth-GDP quotient Figure 2 represents urban population growth divided by GDP, and is effectively a measure of how much economic activity countries are extracting from their cities.
It is not an absolute measure such as GMP gross metropolitan product. Rather, it is a measure of how changes in GDP track changes in urbanization, providing a broader look Meaningful growth and penetration in rural the relative role of cities in national economies. A time horizon of nearly three decades — is chosen to capture the high growth period after market reforms in China and Vietnam It also creates a common reference point to compare longitudinal performance across countries.
Figure 2 Data source: In this metric, China outperforms comparator countries with a particularly rapid increase in the quotient since ; it has evidently been successful deriving GDP value from urban areas. One factor underlying these differences is the type of industries contributing to GDP growth, and in particular their location patterns rural vs. An examination of manufacturing value added MVA is necessary to sharpen this analysis, as manufacturing is historically an urban-based activity.
Cities provide labor, infrastructure, business services, and global connectivity; their importance to manufacturing is undisputed. The raw MVA numbers Figure 3 indicate that sinceChina has far outperformed other countries in the study, most of which showed consistent but not transformative growth.
Among the latter, India boasts the lone spike in MVA, and that only recently. Figure 3 Data source: To complete Meaningful growth and penetration in rural analysis, Figure 4 compares historic patterns of manufacturing growth against growth in urbanization. The indexed quotient replaces GDP Figure 2 with MVA and can be regarded as a Meaningful growth and penetration in rural of the extent to which countries leverage urbanization to support manufacturing growth.
Further, growth in the ability of many remaining countries to derive MVA from cities slows after initially rapid growth.
Figure 4 Data source: The notable exception is India, and this is the critical point in this analysis. China maintains its position at the top due in part to its particular urban-based industrialization strategy special economic zones and decentralization reforms empowering cities.
For example, in many provinces e. Hebei factory parcels stand alone, surrounded by farms. In Southeast Asia, as in parts of China, industrialization is not a fundamentally urban phenomenon. The advantages are numerous: These suburban and rural industrial clusters are even focusing on quality of life for families, looking beyond hard infrastructure to provide housing, education, and recreation facilities. Such amenities appeal to workers of all skill types, from manufacturing to research and development.
As such, rural industrialization need not be only smokestacks and assembly lines; an educated workforce can be recruited if rural living standards match those of Meaningful growth and penetration in rural.
This broadens the array and sophistication of industries capable of supporting a new kind of growth. Hyper-urbanization visits significant inefficiencies on businesses, potentially making rural regions more attractive for operating.
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Aside from Singapore a frequent statistical exceptionBangkok and Kuala Lumpur are leaders within Southeast Asia in developing urban rail. However, neither system offers the geographic coverage needed to loosen gridlock.
Ho Chi Minh City is currently building its first metro line, but construction is delayed and completion appears to be years away. If hyper-urbanization is re-interpreted as a policy challenge rather than a sign of progress, the decentralization of industrial development can be one solution. Technology, expertise, new funding sourcesand emerging economic opportunities are ready to support the rise of rural industrialization across Asia.