Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2012 (Revised December 2013)

Urbanizing China

by Lakshmi Iyer and G.A. Donovan


In 2012, China attained a historic development milestone with more Chinese citizens living in cities than in the countryside. China's rapid urbanization, and the accompanying conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses, raised a number of economic, social, and political concerns. Could China maintain its food security in view of the sharply rising demand for land for urban development? How could it ensure the sustainability of local government finances? Was the growing number of land protests the harbinger of major changes in China's political institutions? How would the challenges of urbanization affect the business environment for private firms? The success and viability of China's overall growth strategy depended crucially on managing a successful urban transition.

Keywords: China; urbanization; industrialization; property rights; local government finance; social protest; business environment; food security; Safety; Change Management; Food; Urban Development; Social Issues; Growth and Development Strategy; Public Administration Industry; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; China;


Iyer, Lakshmi, and G.A. Donovan. "Urbanizing China." Harvard Business School Case 713-037, October 2012. (Revised December 2013.)