The Shanghai metropolitan area topped all other regions in China as the most promising one, according to a report by Evergrande Research Institute on Thursday, China Daily reported.

The report found that 24 metropolitan areas in China, comprising 10 areas which all have over 20 million people and 14 areas each having 10 million to 20 million people, contributed about 54 percent of the country’s GDP.

A metropolitan area refers to an urban form comprising a one-hour commuting circle centered on a metropolis within a city cluster, according to a guideline issued by the National Development and Reform Commission in February this year, the report said.

Among the top 10 in the report, the Shanghai metropolitan area, which includes Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nantong, Ningbo, Jiaxing, Zhoushan and Huzhou, had a GDP of 9.1 trillion yuan (US$1.33 trillion) last year.

The core megacity of Shanghai focuses on R&D, design and marketing, and has manufacturing and production in surrounding cities. The integrated development of the area is also aided by a multilevel rail transit system that breaks down administrative divisions, according to the report.

The Beijing metropolitan area, which ranked second on the list, reflects a shift from one single-core urban sprawl to multicore intensive development.

The central city of Beijing is known for its advanced and cutting-edge industries represented by technological innovation and modern service, though it still faces problems between the job-housing balance, insufficient industrial transfer to neighboring cities, and commuting inefficiency.

The Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou metropolitan area took the third spot on the list. The area is well-known for attracting young migrants to start their careers and having the youngest demographic profile of the country, the report showed.