Li Keqiang, the country’s recently appointed premier, has vowed to put urbanisation at the core of his economic and social agenda. Government departments are drawing up a set of policies, expected to be announced this year, that are intended to guide more than 100m rural citizens into cities over the next decade.

The prospect of a concerted push for urbanisation is viewed with excitement by everyone from mining companies to property developers and local officials to stock brokers. As China’s growth slows, they hope the urbanisation campaign will give the country a boost. They are counting on it to unleash a fresh wave of investment, create a vast body of consumers and ultimately propel China past the US as the world’s biggest economy.
China, which is already highly urbanized for such a poor country, is determined to urbanize further, and Beijing plans to move hundreds of millions more people out of the countryside and into the city.