But the rate of urbanization shows no sign of slowing. So, while existing smaller cities can absorb some of the millions who relocate, China is, with increasing haste, looking to develop entirely new urban areas in order to provide homes, jobs and infrastructure -- all while driving economic growth.
The most high-profile of these is Xiongan, a new city being built across three counties in Hebei province, 100 kilometers to Beijing's south west. Announced to great fanfare in April 2017, it's expected to house up to 2.5 million people. Large-scale construction began in 2019 and, over the next decade, an ambitious government plan will see many of Beijing's businesses, universities and hospitals relocated to this new city, alleviating pressure on the capital and encouraging hi-tech economic development in a traditionally industrial area.