The Big­gest City on Earth

Forbes - - Leaderboard Megacities -

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.

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