Geographical Inequality in China

China is a broad country, with hundreds of thousands of cities. However, there are huge differences between cities along the coast and cities inland. The population of cities along the coast tend to be larger than that of inland cities, and the economy is also healthier. The inequity of coastal cities and inland cities remains an important challenge in China.

Labour is one of the determinant factors of the healthy economy. The more people the city has, and more products, the more goods will be sold, which attracts companies world-wide to invest, and thus improves the overall income of the City. But first, why do people live along the coast?

People living in coastal cities are more connected to the outer world. In ancient times, people mainly traveled by sea, and goods were also transported through shipping, before airplanes were invented. Ports were the only place to import and export goods. So, goods first arrived at coastal cities, import and then were sent inland. People, especially businessmen, could get the first-handed goods, which resulted in the low prices of meat, vegetables, and all kinds of daily-needed products. However, prices in inland cities were high because of the extra money that was added by the sellers that people could not afford the goods, so many people moved from inland cities to coastal cities to seek for more opportunities and to live a better life. Their descendants remained in coastal cities. Besides trade with countries, information is also exchanged faster. People could get first-handed information of what was going on in the world before the invention of technology and the internet. With more information, the coastal cities were the first to adapt to the current situation of the world. For example, in 1979, the chairman of China developed a special region in the south coast of China, which aimed to enhance the economy there. With competition all over the world, the government focused on exportation with countries, and the consumption nationally and internationally. The Chinese government encouraged other countries to import goods from China, and set up factories along the coast, which drove the economy along the coast in an upward direction. The income of employees increased, and people were having a better life. Last but not least, weather is another factor that cannot be ignored. Coastal cities are warmer and wetter, whereas inland cities are colder and drier. Chinese people choose to live in a warmer and wetter weather condition, which drives them to move to coastal cities.

As a result, the economy in coastal cities is in a health cycle: because of the convenience of gaining information and trade, the economy goes up, bringing more employees and consumption with which the economy grows healthier.

With the development of technologies, people living inland can also derive much information from the internet, and with the invention of planes, people do not have to worry about the high prices of goods. However, because of the remains from history, cities along the coast still have better education, healthier economies, and high incomes. A huge gap remains.

Yuntong Zhang