Small but mighty – the rise of newly rich ‘micro-regions’

These pockets of prosperity within countries call for a new lens through which to view the world, instead of the old categories of ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nations.

Shenzhen's Bao'an district, once part of a fishing village, has a per capita income equivalent of the Queens borough in New York City. PHOTO: ST FILE
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Close to many of the beaches that attract droves of tourists, there is a small town in the Indian state of Goa – a former Portuguese colony – called Mapusa, where the income per capita was around US$33,000 (S$44,400) in 2019, similar to Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto. But that same year, India’s per capita income was just US$6,700, around one-fifth that of Portugal.

The Bao’an district of Shenzhen in China, until the 1990s part of a fishing village, had a per capita income equivalent to New York City’s borough of Queens, which in 2018 was around US$40,000. Over in India’s territory of Puducherry, the inhabitants of Karaikal were, on average, about as rich as the people of the reasonably prosperous county of Pasco in the US state of Florida.

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