The Biggest City on Earth
IN THE SOUTHEASTERN corner of China, where the Pearl River meets the sea, nine cities that were mere fishing villages 40 years ago have crept together into what is now the largest urban area in the world, a megalopolis that is home to 68 million people, about 5% of China’s population.
Known colloquially as “the PRD” (Pearl River Delta), the “city” covers 16,000 square miles, approximately the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Befitting the PRD’S status as the 13th-largest economy in the world (see below), China is investing heavily in its infrastructure; 23 enormous projects crisscross the region. Among the most impressive: the 34-mile-long Hong Kong–zhuhai-macau Bridge. When it’s done next year, the span will reduce the drive time from Hong Kong to Macau from 5 hours to a commutable 45 minutes.