The Chinese City Ranking survey, which was launched on June 1, gathered opinions from netizens in more than 26 countries and attracted more than 5.7 million participants.
Beijing topped the list among the 20 contending cities, winning by more than 150,000 votes. Chengdu, Xi’an, Nanjing and Lhasa were ranked second to fifth.
Cultural experts initially selected the 20 cities based on factors such as cultural diversity, cultural heritage preservation, cultural industry development and openness to cultural exchange.
Participants were asked to vote both online and through text messages, and strict measures were taken to avoid manipulation of the result.
“The poll was mainly aimed at promoting the cultural resources of these cities to the world,” said Xue Geyang of China Radio International, which organized the poll.
Xue played down the significance of the rankings. “We want to give equal credit to the cities named in the top 10 ,” she said.
Some experts said the significance of the poll did not lie in the ranking of the cities but in the poll’s promotion of Chinese cities and their cultural appeal.
“We should not focus too much on the rankings as we can’t tell from the poll whether the people who voted have been to the cities themselves,” said Yang Disheng, a cultural expert from Tsinghua University.
“However, to my knowledge, few people in other countries can name more than 10 cities in China, which reflects an urgent need to promote our cities to the world.”
The poll attracted a large percentage of foreign voters, with 65.8 percent coming from overseas.
On the poll’s website, many voters described their attachments to the cities they voted for.
“Personally, I would give my vote to Quanzhou for its vitality, religious diversity and historic links to so many Chinese people living overseas,” said a netizen named Luderming. “I was in this city not long ago and the feeling of visiting my grandparents’ home for the first time was simply too overwhelming to put in words.”
The Chinese City Ranking is the second poll of its kind. The poll in 2010 gathered opinions from more than 5.6 million voters on the top 10 Chinese cities for tourism.
Also in China today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Beijing.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
Beijing.city.mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.