Tiny by Chinese standards

China has 339 cities. Ever wondered what the 10 smallest ones are?

10 smallest cities

China is perhaps most famous for the size of its population. Even in China itself, most daily problems are explained by the locals with this one fact: China’s population is too large.

So in the land of 1.4 billion people, where cities like Beijing harbour over 20 million registered residents, what counts as a small city? For the curious, we have compiled a list of the ten smallest cities in China below:




Sansha, Hainan province

It might surprise people to know that China’s smallest city only has 1,443 residents – what might count as a large village in other parts of the world. This is an anomaly that wants explaining. Sansha was only established in 2012 on one of the Paracel Islands, specifically Woody Island (known as Yongxing to the Chinese). The founding of the city was considered by most international observers to serve one political purpose: to assert China’s claims of sovereignty over the disputed archipelago.




Ngari city, Tibet
Population: 95,500
GDP: Rmb2.89 billion
Similarly sized European entity: the island of Jersey (100,000)




Jiayuguan, Gansu province
Population: 245,900
GDP: Rmb15.34 billion
Similarly sized European city: Venice (260,000)




Karamay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Population: 380,000
GDP: Rmb84.7 billion
Similarly sized European city: Zurich (378,000)




Jinchang, Gansu province
Population: 478,700
GDP: Rmb23.275 billion
Similarly sized European city: Liverpool (478,000)




Wuhai, Inner Mongolia
Population: 558,300
GDP: Rmb60 billion
Similarly sized European city: Bremen (557,000)




Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region
Population: 559,400
GDP: Rmb38.94 billion
Similarly sized European city: Leipzig (560,000)




Sanya, Hainan province
Population: 572,000
GDP: Rmb43.5 billion
Similarly sized European city: Sheffield (569,000)




Jiyuan, Henan province
Population: 724,000
GDP: Rmb53.3 billion
Similarly sized European city: Frankfurt (732,000)




Shizuishan, Ningxia province
Population: 788,000
GDP: Rmb48.24 billion
Similarly sized European city: Valencia (786,000)

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