Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Tale of 4 Cities of Chindia (China and India)

While I wrote the travel article about the Chinese and Indian immigrants in Singapore, I was struck by the similarities of the relative geographical relationship between Beijing and Shanghai on the one hand, and New Delhi and Mumbai on the other.

Almost a perfect trapezoid

Here are some facts and figures to support what I said.

Cities Latitudes Longitudes
——————— —————— ——————
New Delhi 28.65 77.23
Mumbai 19.07 72.88
Beijing 39.91 116.4
Shanghai 31.22 121.46

Latitude variations between the 2 Indian cities = 28.65 - 19.07 = 9.58
Longitude variations between the 2 Indian cities = 77.23 - 72.88 = 4.35

Latitude variations between the 2 Chinese cities = 39.91 - 31.22 = 8.69
Longitude variations between the 2 Chinese cities = 121.46 - 116.40 = 5.06

If you look at these 2 pairs of latitude and longitude differences, they're quite close (9.58 vs 8.69, and 4.35 vs 5.06). It's curious.

Two of the lantern installations during Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 in Gardens by the Bay, reflecting Indian and Chinese cultures in Singapore with the cultural icons of Ganesha and one of the Dragon King of the Four Seas.

Ganesha lantern display, Garden by the Bay, Singapore
Dragon, lantern display, Garden by the Bay, Singapore

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You could say Mumbai is the Indian Shanghai, or Shanghai is the Indian Mumbai (depending on your point of view). I.e. The 2 cities are the financial centres of the 2 countries. Apart from being financial centres, these 2 cities are also the origins of their respective national film industries. Mumbai gave rise to Bollywood, and Shanghai also founded Chinese film industry. This is less surprising because wealth creates the needs for entertainments.

Side note: American film industry started in New York. The 1st American studio in in Queens, NY. But only briefly in 19th century. In 20th century, studios begun to mushroom in Hollywood, CA.


The relative geographical relationships between these 2 pair of cities are interesting. So I dig a little deeper to see if I can unearth more similarities between these 2 pair of cities. Naturally, I look at their population relationship between these 2 city pairs.

Cities Population (million)
——————— —————————
Mumbai 20.7
New Delhi 16.8
Shanghai 14.35
Beijing 11.51

It's not surprising that that are more people living in Mumbai and Shanghai than New Delhi and Beijing because wealth and therefore employment opportunities drive people into the financial centres.

Naturally because of higher population density in India, one would expect higher population living in the cities of India. However, it's their ratios, therefore relationship, of their city populations of these 2 pairs that's interesting,

Ratio of the population of Mumbai to New Delhi = 20.7 / 16.8 = 1.232
Ratio of the population of Shanghai to Beijing = 1.057 / 0.848 = 1.246

If we're using only one decimal point, then they have the identical ratio of 1.2. Or that the financial centres are approx 23% larger than its capital cities. And I wonder if this is purely coincidental, or something deeper and organic about how population distribution work in large countries like India and China. Well, I'll leave that to the sociology academics to answer. I've done my job of asking question.




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