Jul 2, 2008

Which tier is your Chinese city?

Writers seem to use the term "tier" pretty frequently when referencing Chinese cities these days. Based on what I've seen, you can safely assume whatever place in China you're in falls into one of three categories:
  • first tier
  • second tier
  • third tier
  • four tier (the sticks)
I was curious to know which cities are which, so I did some quick research. It seems that different writers have different ideas of what are first tier and second tier cities, but after going through quite a few articles, I came up with some patterns. Below is what I've come up with. I've put a link to the article after each city. The more authors mentioned that a specific city was second tier, for example, the more numbers are listed after it.

Based on the anecdotal data that I collected, I've put the commonly-accepted first tier cities in green, and the commonly-accepted second tier cities in red, and borderline second tier cities in orange. We'll assume the uncolored cities are outliers and should be thrown out from the data set.

First tier
Second tier
Third tier

None of the articles I looked at listed the third tier cities by name. By process of elimination, if you're in a Chinese city that's not listed as first tier or second tier, then you must be in a third tier city.

I would also state the the second tier cities above not colored red or orange are in fact third tier cities.


What does all this mean? Is is preferable to live in a squat toilet-only third tier city, a semi-backwards second tier city, or a Westernized first tier city? Should people from first tier cities act condescending to second tier city dwellers? There are many unanswered questions.


OpenID myrecap said...

you've done a great job! Thanks! I'm looking for any official definition and find it confusing as well. Your entry definitely helped me a lot. Thanks

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

likewise, useful data. if there's any updates, would be greatly appreciated. thank u

6:04 AM  

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