A prefecture-level city (地级市 Pinyin: dìjí shì, literally "region-level city") are cities governed directly by provincess of the People's Republic of China. As a city, it ranks lower than municipality, and ranks higher than county-class cities. The first ones were created on November 5, 1983. And most the rest 265 existing ones were made such in the remainder of the 1980s.
- An urban centre with a non-farmer population over 250,000
- gross output of value of industry of 200,000,000 RMB
- the out of tertiary industry supersedes that of primary industry
- Over 35% of the GDP
A sub-prefecture-level city (副地級市), or vice-prefecture-level city, is in a transition state from a county-level city to a true prefecture-level city. They are not numerous; current ones include Chaozhou (Guangdong, since 1990) and Tianshui (Gansu, since 1984).
Sub-provincial cities are sometimes placed on the same tier as prefecture-level cities, or counted as such.
See also: Political divisions of China