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Sub-provincial divisions in the People's Republic of China

A sub-provincial division (simplified Chinese: 副省级行政区; traditional Chinese: 副省級行政區; pinyin: fùshĕngjí chéngshì) (or deputy-provincial divisions) in the People's Republic of China, is like a prefecture-level city that is governed by a province, but is administered independently in regard to economy and law.

Sub-provincial divisions, similar to prefectural-level divisions, an administrative unit comprising, typically, a main central urban area, and its much larger surrounding rural area containing many smaller cities, towns and villages.

The mayor or chairman of a sub-provincial division is equal in status to a vice-governor of a province. Its status is below that of municipalities, which are independent and equivalent to provinces, but above other, regular prefecture-level divisions, which are completely ruled by their provinces. However, they are marked as same as other provincial capitals (or prefecture-level city if not provincial capital) in almost all maps.


  • Map of sub-provincial level entries in the People's Republic of China 1
    • Sub-provincial cities 1.1
    • Sub-provincial new areas 1.2
    • Sub-provincial autonomous prefecture 1.3
  • Sub-provincial Municipal Conference 2
  • References 3

Map of sub-provincial level entries in the People's Republic of China

Map of Sub-provincial level entries in the People's Republic of China

Sub-provincial cities

The original 16 cities were renamed as sub-provincial cities on 25 February 1994 by the prefecture-level cities.[1] They are mostly the capitals of the provinces in which they are located.

Currently, there are 15 sub-provincial cities after Chongqing was designated direct-control:[2]

Sub-provincial cities of the People's Republic of China[3]
Division name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Province Symbol Region Population (2010 Census) Date of designation Subdivision
Changchun 长春市 Chángchūn Jilin Northeast 7,677,089 1989-02-11 7 districts, 2 county cities & 1 county
Chengdu 成都市 Chéngdū Sichuan Southwest 14,047,625 1989-02-11 9 districts, 4 county cities & 6 counties
Dalian 大连市 Dàlián Liaoning Northeast 6,690,432 1984-07-13 6 districts, 3 county cities & 1 county
Guangzhou 广州市 Guǎngzhōu Guangdong South Central 12,700,800 1984-10-05 11 districts
Hangzhou 杭州市 Hángzhōu Zhejiang East 8,700,400 1994-02-25 8 districts, 3 county cities & 2 counties
Harbin 哈尔滨市 Hāěrbīn Heilongjiang Northeast 10,635,971 1984-10-05 9 districts, 2 county cities & 7 counties
Jinan 济南市 Jǐnán Shandong East 6,814,000 1994-02-25 6 districts, 1 county city & 3 counties
Nanjing 南京市 Nánjīng Jiangsu East 8,001,680 1989-02-11 11 districts
Ningbo 宁波市 Níngbō Zhejiang East 7,605,689 1987-02-24 6 districts, 3 county cities & 2 counties
Qingdao 青岛市 Qīngdǎo Shandong East 8,715,100 1986-10-15 6 districts & 4 county cities
Shenyang 沈阳市 Shěnyáng Liaoning Northeast 8,106,171 1984-07-11 9 districts, 1 county city & 3 counties
Shenzhen 深圳市 Shēnzhèn Guangdong South Central 10,357,938 1988-10-03 6 districts (4 new districts)
Wuhan 武汉市 Wǔhàn Hubei South Central 9,785,392 1984-05-21 13 districts
Xiamen 厦门市 Xiàmén Fujian East 3,531,347 1988-04-18 6 districts
Xi'an 西安市 Xī'ān Shaanxi Northwest 8,467,837 1984-10-05 9 districts & 4 counties

Chongqing was formerly a sub-provincial city of Sichuan until 14 March 1997, when it was made a municipality by splitting it out of Sichuan altogether. Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps also has the powers of a sub-provincial city.

Chengdu is the largest sub-provincial city; has a population exceeding that of the independent municipality of Tianjin while, both Harbin and Chengdu have a bigger area then Tianjin.

Sub-provincial new areas

Additionally, the head of Pudong New Area of Shanghai and Binhai New Area of Tianjin, which is a county-level district, is given sub-provincial powers.

Sub-provincial districts of the People's Republic of China[3]
Division name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Municipality Symbol Region Population (2010 Census) Date of designation Subdivision
Binhai New Area 滨海新区 Bīnhǎi Xīn Qū Tianjin North 2,482,065 2009 19 Subdistricts & 7 towns (11 special township-level zones)
Pudong New Area 浦东新区 Pǔdōng Xīn Qū Shanghai East 5,044,430 1992 13 Subdistricts & 25 towns (6 special township-level zones)

Sub-provincial autonomous prefecture

Sub-provincial autonomous prefecture of the People's Republic of China[3]
Division name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Province Symbol Region Population (2010 Census) Date of designation Subdivision
Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture 伊犁哈萨克自治州 Yīlí Hāsàkè Zìzhìzhōu Xinjiang 伊犁 Northwest 4,305,119 1979 (2 prefectures) 5 county cities, 17 counties & 2 autonomous counties

Sub-provincial Municipal Conference

The National Standing Committee of Sub-provincial Municipal People's Congresses' Chairmen Joint Conference (全国副省级城市人大常委会主任联席会议) are attended by the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of all sub-provincial cities. It was proposed by the Guangzhou Municipal People's Congress in 1985. The conferences:

  1. Guangzhou (26 February – 4 March 1985)
  2. Harbin (27–31 August 1985)
  3. Wuhan (20–24 May 1986)
  4. Dalian (10–14 August 1987)
  5. Xi'an (9–13 September 1988)
  6. Shenyang (13–17 August 1990)
  7. Chongqing (22–26 November 1991)
  8. Qingdao (3–7 May 1992)
  9. Shenzhen (25–28 October 1993)
  10. Nanjing (1–4 November 1994)
  11. Changchun (21–24 May 1995)
  12. Hangzhou (20–24 October 1996)
  13. Jinan (19–25 October 1997)
  14. Xiamen (12–16 October 1998)
  15. Ningbo (17–20 October 1999)
  16. Chengdu (10–13 October 2000)
  17. Guangzhou (30 October – 3 November 2001)
  18. Harbin (23–26 July 2002)
  19. Wuhan (8–12 October 2003)
  20. Shenyang (31 August – 6 September 2004)
  21. Qingdao (6–8 September 2005)
  22. Shenzhen (20–23 October 2006)
  23. Dalian (14–16 August 2007)
  24. Xi'an (13–16 April 2009)
  25. Nanjing (18–20 October 2010)
  26. Changchun (22–25 August 2011)


  1. ^ "中央机构编制委员会印发《关于副省级市若干问题的意见》的通知. 中编发[1995]5号". 豆丁网. 1995-02-19. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  2. ^ 薛宏莉 (2008-05-07). "15个副省级城市中 哈尔滨市房价涨幅排列第五名" [Prices rose in 15 sub-provincial cities, Harbin ranked fifth]. 哈尔滨地产 (in Chinese). Sohu. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  3. ^ a b c References and details on data provided in the table can be found within the individual municipality articles.
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