Table of Contents

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Policies, Practices and Positioning

Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner

This interdisciplinary book details the economic, cultural and social background of the development of Chinese mega-cities, as well as presenting the mechanisms of governance and urban growth strategies. Therein, the main discussion centres on the contemporary practice of city branding and development in China in relation to the rest of the world. This includes the way stakeholders and actors are engaged in city branding; the ‘societal forces’ that impact the city branding process; the way cities compete internationally; and how mega-cities build brands to strategically position themselves globally.

Chapter 1: Developing and branding a polycentric mega-city: the case of Shanghai

Yuan Ren and Per Olof Berg

Subjects: business and management, marketing, urban and regional studies, cities


Due to the globalization of the economy, and the rapid urbanization in China, Chinese cities in general, and the eastern coastal cities in particular, have grown in size to form large, mega-city agglomerates. Within these agglomerates, there are simultaneous spatial decentralization and governmental centralization processes going on. In this chapter, we focus on the development and governance of these emerging mega-cities and the consequences of their polycentric structure for city branding. Based on a case study of Shanghai, this chapter is divided into four sections. The first section deals with the development of diversified urban spatial forms around large cities in China. The second is a discussion of the forces behind the transformation from big cities to polycentric mega-cities. In the third section, some of the problems and challenges caused by this urban transformation process are discussed. The last section addresses the particular issues involved in branding large polycentric cities.

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