How to Divide Cities
According to the administrative division set by the government, there are 5 divisions in China: province-level, prefecture-level division, county-level region, township-level division and village-level division.
These settings are not fixed, they would changed from time to time.
This data is from the year 2016.
23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions*, 4 municipalities* and 2 Special administrative regions*.
Autonomous Regions: Ningxia, Guangxi, Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. There are the minorities’ habitations.
Municipalities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau (our fieldwork network do not cover these 2 areas at the moment)
These 34 provinces are subservient to central government directly.
283 cities, 17 prefectures, 30 autonomous prefecture and 3 leagues.
852 districts, 374 county-level cities, 1464 counties, 117 autonomous counties, 49 banners, 3 autonomous banners, 1 forestry area and 2 special districts.
14677 townships, 1092 ethnic townships, 19522 towns, 6152 subdistricts, 11 district public offices, 181 sumus and 1 ethnic sumu.
717 neighborhood committees, 623669 village committees (including village groups, administrative village and natural village).
Besides of administrative division, there are tier divisions for cities that are used widely on deciding/choosing appropriate cities in marketing research.
It can be divided into 4 tiers, T1 (the superlative degree), T2, T3 and T4. However, which city belongs to which tier is not fixed, or we can say the criteria to define them are controversial. Among them, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are considered/accepted as T1 cities. The reason why they are accepted as T1 is because their great influence in the core industrial economics towards the whole country. Beijing is the political and culture center; Shanghai is the financial and economic center; Guangzhou is the trade center of commodities and Shenzhen is the technology industrial center.
Here are some of the criteria for dividing different tier for your references:
Economic power: GDP, Economic radiation in regional areas, Core industry chain and supporting facilities
Urbanization level and size of central districts in the city
Science and education level and its development potential
For cities of T2, T3 and T4, we will take references above and recommend them according to the specific project details and requirements.