Rejuvenated from the three-year pandemic lockdown, Chinese cities have continued to grow in leaps and bounds. This year, 15 new cities including Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and Chongqing, ascended to the first-tier ranks on criteria such as commercial clusters, transport facilities and urban dynamics. Big brands continue to pursue opportunities in smaller cities, and as they become more appealing, the attraction of expensive megacities like Beijing and Shanghai has waned for the young, who look more for commute time, housing affordability and air quality. More cities today focus on their own characteristics such as Hangzhou’s cinemas and Xi’an’s museums. Cities are now displaying greater prudence when developing high-tech industries to avoid unnecessary regional competition. Smaller cities such as Quanzhou, Fujian Province, and Zibo, Shandong Province are starting to transform, although the ultimate measure of their success lies in the test of time.