Old Version

Mumbai has a Long Way to Catch Up with Shanghai

While Shanghai has built world-class infrastructure, Mumbai’s is still at a third-world level, says scholar

By Han Bingbin Updated Aug.10

It will take a very long time for Mumbai to catch up with Shanghai in terms of "urban quality," said Chu Yun-han, a renowned Taiwanese scholar, in his new book.  

While Shanghai has built world-class infrastructure and facilities, Mumbai’s infrastructure is still at a third-world level with nearly half its population living in slums, the scholar said.   

Citing calculations by McKinsey & Company, Zhu said in the following decade it will cost Mumbai at least 195 billion yuan (US$29 billion) to turn itself into an international metropolis. But it’s hard for Mumbai to achieve the kind of speed that Shanghai has grown at in the past two decades, he said.  

China’s highly efficient political and economic systems help significantly shorten the time of infrastructure expansion, Zhu said. It took, for example, four years on average for Shanghai to plan and build a complete subway line, demonstrating an efficiency hardly imaginable in India, the scholar said.   

Meanwhile, Mumbai lacks a strong financing capacity for massive infrastructure construction, the scholar noted. Chinese government has been able to raise money through leasing State-owned land, while in India lands are privately owned and do little help to government finances, Zhu said. It’s also easier for China to attain land for construction, which can be done through relocation compensation and land exchanges, said Zhu.  

Comparing Mumbai and Shanghai makes it easier for people to understand China’s economic advantages, Zhu said. China’s practices to nationalize urban land and allow State-owned land to enter the market following the country’s Reform and Opening Up endeavors have secured the key source of capital for urban development, he said.