WU Weiping: "Financing China's Urbanization"

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Professor Weiping WU, professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, gave an informative talk entitled Financing China's Urbanization on March 9, 2016.  Using statistical data, Professor Wu illustrated the context of Chinese local government’s fiscal system and demonstrated the mismatch between local government's revenues and expenditures. Comparing the financial approaches to financing infrastructure in China with other industrialized nations and developing countries, Professor Wu argued that the regime of local governments’ land financing is no longer feasible for municipal governments to rely on.  

She went on to identify alternative financing sources for China, such as municipal bonds, local property taxes, PPI, and institutional investors. Assessing these alternative approaches, she generalized some risk premiums for equity, such as regulatory and currency issues. By ranking the opportunities in investing in China’s infrastructure and urban development through different sectors (i.e. water, energy, and parking), she articulately challenged the current unsustainable financing regime of local governments by offering many potential new source of funding.

Speaker: WU Weiping 吴维平
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University

Weiping Wu is a professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University, and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Tsinghua University (China). She is a former editor of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and a visiting Zijiang Chair Professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai. At Tufts, she also is a senior fellow in the Council for Emerging Market Enterprises at The Fletcher School, and the coordinator of the undergraduate Minor in Urban Studies program. Previously, she was a professor of urban studies and planning and international studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, a consultant to the World Bank, and a fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. She also serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Urban Affairs, Open Urban Studies Journal, Journal of Urban and Regional Planning (Chinese), and World Regional Studies (Chinese).

Financing China's Urbanization
Behind the spectacular growth of China’s cities lies a potential fiscal crisis. It is unlikely that municipal governments can count on revenues from land leasing as a major, lasting source of finance. Many are under pressure to find alternative sources to finance urban development and infrastructure. This presentation will discuss a confluence of factors underlying the crisis, and explore the alternatives.

Recommended reading list:
Urban Infrastructure Financing and Economic Performance in China (2010)