【英语中国】用星巴克开店数量帮中国城市分级? What Makes a Tier-2 City in China? Count the Starbucks

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2014-4-16 18:16

小艾摘要: What exactly differentiates a tier-two Chinese city from a tier-three city? Officially no one knows, but it might help to start by counting the Starbucks.China has more than 600 cities, which are ofte ...
What Makes a Tier-2 City in China? Count the Starbucks
What exactly differentiates a tier-two Chinese city from a tier-three city? Officially no one knows, but it might help to start by counting the Starbucks.

China has more than 600 cities, which are often categorized into four tiers. The government, industry experts and analysts all use this classification, but there is almost no agreement about which city belongs to which tier.

Unlike almost every other Chinese economic indicator, the government doesn't have an official definition for the tiers. Even the country's official statistics department--which uses the classification system but notes that it was started by the private sector--said it doesn't have a definitive list.

Aside from tier-one cities--which most outlets have agreed include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen--it's largely a free for all. Depending on which organization you ask, China has 18, 24 or 49 tier-two cities, and 108, 149 or 318 tier-three cities. There's even less agreement on fourth-tier cities. To make matters even messier, some real-estate advisers talk of fifth- and sixth-tier cities, or 2.5-tier cities.

Some banks, government offices and research houses label all provincial capitals as second-tier, while others draw their conclusions based on criteria such as population figures, gross domestic product, disposable income and housing sales.

Fund managers and market-research firms tend to use more elaborate criteria. Private-equity firm CDH Investments Management looks at drivers of employment, number and quality of universities, current and future transport links, and whether local officials are what it deems 'pro-business and forward-thinking.' Another research firm once used the number of Starbucks outlets in a city to identify whether it was third- or fourth-tier.

'Sometimes it's based on the feeling we get when we go to the city and talk to the people. What are the properties developments like, are people there sophisticated?' said Yan Ke Yue, a market consultant at Flamingo Group's Shanghai office.

For example, even though Beijing is 'a first-tier city in terms of income and infrastructure, it has a second-tier mindset,' Ms. Yan said, citing the fact that many people in Beijing are more conservative than their counterparts in Shanghai or Shenzhen.

While this might seem like a debate that only statisticians would care about, it's important because officials and companies rely on the markers when making business expansion, employment and policy decisions. And Chinese property developers have become more sensitive to the labels in recent years.

When the central government cracked down on rising home prices and speculators in tier-one and two cities in 2011, many investors flocked to smaller cities where Beijing's policy arm had less reach. Recently, however, many developers have returned to the larger cities where demand is stronger and where they can charge higher prices.

And this migration back and forth is driving a move to further fragment cities. Real-estate portal SouFun HoldingsSFUN -1.70% has identified eight 'tier-1.5' cities, 24 'tier-2.5' cities and 79 'tier-3.5' cities among the 289 cities it tracks.

Esther Fung / Richard Silk / Liyan Qi

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images北京一家星巴克咖啡店。大家应该都同意北京是一线城市吧?





基金管理公司和市场研究公司倾向于使用更复杂的指标。如私募股权投资公司鼎晖投资(CDH Investments Management)研究的是就业驱动因素、大学的数量和质量、当前和未来的交通状况以及地方官员是否具有“重商和前瞻性”头脑这些指标。另一家研究公司曾用一个城市的星巴克门店数量来判断它到底是三线还是四线城市。

Flamingo Group上海办公室的市场顾问Yan Ke Yue表示,有时候他们对一个城市属于几线城市的判断基于他们到那以后以及与当地人交谈时的感觉,比如当地的房地产发展如何,当地人是否见多识广。




上述情况正推动城市分级的进一步细化。房地产门户网站搜房(SouFun Holdings)已在其追踪的289个城市中确认了八个1.5线城市,24个2.5线城市和79个3.5线城市。

Esther Fung / Richard Silk / Liyan Qi

(本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。)关键词:房地产  星巴克  

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