Forbes China's newest rankings of the top 100 mainland Chinese cities for doing business suggest that Chengdu is firmly established as the top business destination in central or western China.
This year Chengdu was once again rated China's 12th-best city for doing business by Forbes. In maintaining its high ranking, Chengdu appears to have succeeded in mitigating the effects of the current global recession. Chengdu is arguably benefitting from the economic slowdown, with many companies – most notably Intel and Alibaba – shifting operations to the city to avoid the high costs of China's coastal cities.
Not surprisingly, Forbes ranked Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen the top three mainland cities for doing business. Provinces with the most cities on Forbes' list include Jiangsu, which has 16 cities on the list, and Zhejiang and Shandong, which have 14 cities each.
What may be surprising to some, this year's rankings – the sixth time the magazine has published the list – suggest an increasing level of competition between Chinese cities. They also reflect the rising economic clout of China's central and western regions vis-à-vis the country's coast, where external demand and investment, which have contracted during the global recession, play a bigger role in local economies.
All major economic hubs in central China moved up in the Forbes rankings this year, including number 14 Wuhan (up 19 places), number 25 Zhengzhou (up 37), number 28 Changsha (up eight), number 61 Nanchang (up two) and number 62 Taiyuan, which made its first appearance on the list.
The once laggard region of western China has also been rising in economic importance. Chengdu leads the way for western Chinese cities including number 24 Chongqing, number 31 Xi'an and number 60 Kunming. Three western cities made their debut on the list, with Nanning entering at the 54 spot, Guiyang at number 92 and Lanzhou at 93.