Asia Minute: Wuhan: A Closer Look

Jan 30, 2020

As the new coronavirus remains in the news, there’s a growing focus on the Chinese city where it began. The city is one of the largest in China — and also important to the regional economy of East Asia.

More people live in Wuhan than in New York City.

That’s one small window into how much of China’s growth has centered on cities.

Wuhan is one of 13 Chinese cities with a population of 10 million or more. New York is the most populous city in the United States, and its population is still approaching 9 million. Census figures show ten U.S. cities have a population of one million or more.

According to the World Population Review, China has more than 160 cities with at least a million residents.

Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province, south of Beijing, west of Shanghai, deeper into China’s geographical center — a transportation hub.

It’s inland from the ocean, but two of China’s most important rivers flow through it – the Yangtze and the Han. The city is a center of manufacturing — including auto production home to the state-owned Dongfeng Motor Corporation.

Wuhan has drawn foreign investment — especially from elsewhere in Asia. South Korean steelmaker POSCO has a plant there – so does SK Global Chemical.

This week, Japan’s External Trade Organization said “about 160” Japanese companies have a presence of some kind in Wuhan — including automakers Honda and Nissan.

Right now, business for all of these companies and more remains at a standstill.