Inter-city competition has intensified and entrepreneurial regimes have become more popular for urban governance in the age of globalization. It is generally assumed that cities are in competition resulting in a zero-sum game. With a few exceptions, inter-city competition is considered a negative phenomenon, which can affect both cities and their wider regions negatively. But there is inadequate explanation for the emergence of such keen competition or solutions to such a situation. Indeed, cities often have close demographic, social and economic relations. They may also cooperate to enhance the competitive advantage of both cities. Currently there is no integrated study on inter-city competition and cooperation within a region. Furthermore, previous studies on inter-city competition and cooperation have focused on the initiatives led by city governments, whilst ignoring social relations and market-based economic relations. This chapter provides a holistic perspective in the examination of inter-city competition and cooperation that accounts for inter-city social, economic and governmental relations. The relations between Hong Kong and Shenzhen provide a good case for detailed study of inter-city competition and cooperation under regionalization and globalization. The chapter attempts to address a number of questions relating to inter-city competition and cooperation by differentiating inter-city relations at the macro level and firm level and separating the roles of firms and the city governments. This is achieved by reviewing the development of Hong Kong and Shenzhen and developing a conceptual framework to analyse the inter-city relationships. From this analysis implications for policy and future development are produced.
In China, all of the problems of competitiveness and sustainability are exacerbated by demography. Between 1982 and 2010 China’s urban population tripled, with the largest increase being due to temporary migrants from rural areas. These migrants have no permanent status and lack access to basic services such as housing, sanitation, water, schools and health care. They lack skills and are used in the most menial types of work; they are one of the principal problems for urban areas. The situation is magnified by the application of advanced technology such as AI, robots and internet communication. To resolve this problem, Shen argues for a regional approach to planning that will combine improvement of the economic life in smaller cities and towns along with planning for sustainable urbanization. The Hong Konk community of Ma On Shan offers a guide to this approach to the future of China’s urban areas.