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Shanghai population to swell to 50 million by 2050

SHANGHAI and Beijing will have a population of over 50 million each by 2050, more than double the current level due to fast-paced urbanization and rapid economic growth, researchers and government officials said today.

China's urbanization rate, percentage of people living in urban centers, will hit 70 percent in 2050 compared with 46.6 percent in 2009, officials told the fifth Expo forum, themed "Economic Transformations and Urban-Rural Relations," which was held in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, yesterday and today

Shanghai will have about 50 million residents by 2050 while Beijing's population is likely to hit 60 million, compared with 22.5 million now, said Li Qiang, chairman of Tsinghua University's School of Humanities & Social Sciences.

"China's super-sized cities are the result of fast growing economy and massive migration," Professor Li told the forum.

China's urbanization rate is still low and it has much space for growth, said Li Daokui, a member of Monetary Policy Committee of the People's Bank of China.

After the global financial crisis and changed environment of world economy and politics, the traditional mode of development should change accordingly. The new mode should center on a better urban-rural relationship and technological innovation, said Yu Zhengsheng, Shanghai's Party secretary.

He said China's residence registry system has proven a big bottleneck in urban-rural interaction. Without a residence permit, people from rural areas could not develop themselves and integrate into local society.

China should reform the system, providing migrant workers the same benefits as local residents and encourage them to move to smaller cities, said Li Daokui.

At present, China is testing the residency reform in Chongqing, which will turn about 10 million rural residents into city residents by 2020.

More than 600 government officials and scholars attended the two-day forum.


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