back to article China plans city 'twice the size of Wales'

It's official: the inexorable rise of China has rendered meaningless ancient units of area such as the square mile, as reporters struggle to express the extent of the country's megacities in terms the average reader can understand. Handily for the Telegraph, it can fall back on the accepted Reg standard – the Wales – in …


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  1. Ben Rosenthal

    I love

    how the country Wales is such a constant measurement of things that are quite big, even though I only have a vague background notion of the actual size of the country Wales :D

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: I love

      It says here that it's a bit more than half a Belgium*, or a shade under a hundredth of a Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Does that help?

      *"Half a Belgium" is a measurement apparently destined for future importance. Ask a Belgian.

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Whoa, there are ladies present!

        Only one man has ever been brave enough to utter that horrendous curse word and his name was Zaphod Beeblebrox!

    2. Just Thinking

      Not to mention

      Football pitches (not a fan, can't remember the last time I saw one), olympic size swimming pools (likewise) or acres (roughly the size of a football pitch apparently).

      Our local allotments are priced in poles. Why don't they just measure everything in poles, then we would know what they are on about.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      size of Wales

      Think of 2 Lebanons plus change.

      1. dssf

        That depends on what kind of poles they are measuring against...

        Then, everyone could jockey for pole position (racing or otherwise...)

    4. Little_alien


      Its about 167miles drive from South to North coast.

      err about 110miles wide ar widest.

      wow big city...

      1. Kamal Hashmi

        this is not a title

        I've been to that hell-hole called LA - that's roughly 200 miles long N-S and 100 miles W-E

        Of course, most of that is empty wasteland or freeway.

        And there's a constant haze in the air, and every breath feels like you're in a smoke-filled room.

    5. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Size of Wales

      Is a bit arbitrary really. Do you mean the size of Wales as seen from above, or the size of Wales if you ironed it properly (in which case it is considerably larger than Greenland*)

      * which isn't as large as you think it is.

      I'm really not helping am I?

      1. Steve X

        Size of Wales

        Does that include Anglesey, and does it take into account coastal erosion?

  2. Gilbert Wham

    Stuck in the past...

    You need a *modern* unit of measurement, for, as any fule kno, the Bronto has now been replaced by the Apatosaurus. If you carry on like tah, all our spaceprobes will crash...

  3. Andy Barker

    Ratios of Reg Units

    I'm curious - over all the stories where both the unit of Wales and Linguine are used (if any), is the ratio consistent?

    That would be amazing (and the ratio would require a name of its own of course).

    1. Fluffykins

      I think you are talking about

      The Blank Constant*

      *The reaction most people give to anthromophicisations** of large units, especially when one anthromorphic unit is substituted for another

      **set out in terms intended to relate to the human experience***

      ***Excluding Paris Hilton now decent 3D TVs are available and assuming the imminent availability of a decent USB Groin attachment.

  4. welshie


    Actually, it's probabably that the Chinese working in metric, which the Telegraph converted into the Newspaper Journalist System of Measures - you know, the one that uses Celsius for temperatures below the freezing point of water, but then Fahrenheit when it starts getting hot, because of course, they Newspaper Journalists know the best way of representing The Truth to their readership.

  5. Naughtyhorse

    thereby hangs a tale...

    Speaking as a welsh expat...

    we have always reconed that wales, if you were to iron out all the bumps, is in fact be bigger then eng-er-lund.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      I'll get me...

      If flattened, it would certainly save some petrol when driving around in it!

      1. Bod


        it would rain less.

  6. foo_bar_baz

    Internationally recognizable units, please.

    ~ 1.3 Belgiums, for us Europeans

    ~ 0.05 Texas', for the Merkins

    1. Captain Obvious
      Thumb Down



      Anchorage is 1961 square miles for a city

      The state is TWICE the size of Texas at 591,004 sq mi


  7. Elmer Phud

    Ahem . . .

    . . . Yeah, two 'Wales' but what's that in 'Olympic Swimming Pools' or 'tennis courts'?

    How many 'double decker buses' long is the railway?

    I can't get my head around 'two Wales' apart from maybe two 'National Express Hostesses Arses'.

    ("and it's hard to get by, when your arse is the size of a small countryyyyyyy")

    1. Naughtyhorse



  8. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    Wow, that makes it 24,137,939,319 postage stamps. That's an awful lot of licking!

    Paris because,..... well it's obvious really. :)

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      @ Wooohoo...

      Depends if you were trying to lick them all in one go, or sequentially due to an unfeasably large postal run. I guess the solution would be an automated and industrial grade spraying solution.

      If not sequential then I guess the benefit would be that you'd probably never have to buy any stamps ever again. Although you'd be pretty pissed off if you'd bought 24,137,939,319 stamps from the Post Office and they suddenly made them obsolete in favour of some crap Blue Peter appeal type edition of stamps.

      Or something.

      1. Fluffykins

        @Aristotle etc.

        "Depends if you were trying to lick them all in one go"

        Do you mean all of Paris Hilton or all the postage stamps.

        just curious

  9. ant 2

    serendipity I love thee

    never realised 1 brontosaurus was the same as 10,000 linguine, give or take the odd plateful of spag dino-sauce.

  10. umacf24

    if I had my time again

    I'd train as a water treatment engineer and go and work in China

    Imagine the sewage from 42 million people in one city!

    1. Olafthemighty


      "Imagine the sewage from 42 million people in one city!"? No thanks!

  11. Wize

    Isn't there an old joke about... you get two Wales in a Nissan?

  12. Skizz


    You'd think the Welsh would be getting quite paranoid by now:-

    The Chinese build a new city, twice the size of Wales!

    An area the size of Wales was destroyed by forest fire!

    In the Amazon rain forest, an area the size of Wales is being chopped down every day!

    An area the size of Wales is experiencing severe flooding in Brisbane!

    The Indonesian tsunami destroyed an area the size of Wales!

    When the big one hits in California, an area of land the size of Wales will dissappear into the sea!

    When we stop practising and get on with plan of 'permanent devolution' what will the unit of measure for area become?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      There is an international concensus around saving the Wales!!

      Ok! Ok!! I'm leaving!!!

  13. Anonymous Coward


    I was lucky enough to take a day trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong in 1983. There was one high rise building, an eight storey hotel, and the rest was mostly slums.

    The Chinese govt tour guides were very proud of one thing: The giant water tap (ceremonial fake, I'm sure) at the side of a reservoir. They claimed it controlled Hong Kong's entire water supply. A nice bargaining chip.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Official Population ? BAh Humbug.

      Shenzhen is a lot bigger now!!

      I also wonder if the "42 Million" will be the Official population. The Chinese people ignore the "One Child" laws as often as possible, and lie consistently to any government official nosey enough to ask; hence the 181 million people involved in the current census!!

      Having dated women from Guangzhou I know that the unofficial population is about 4 - 6 million higher than the official one; with people living and sleeping in unregistered parts of factories, shops and office buildings (including one ex girlfriends parents).

      Personally I dread the thought of smelling 42 million people worth of poops; Guangzhou stinks of effluent as it is!!!

      (And Cabbage, every Chinese city stinks of cabbage)

      Have the Reg got a unit of volume for mega poops yet?? Can I suggest the "Gordon"??

      1 Gordon = 1 cubic km of Poop

      After all, his surname IS Brown, and he was full of the stuff.

  14. Peter Clarke 1

    Fiction Meets Reality

    We've got the MegaCity, when are we gonna get the Street Judges with their LawGivers?

    Mines the one with the big badge and the chain across the shoulder

  15. Juan Inamillion

    So this new town then....

    Will it be reached a bridge of the equivalent size of the Severn Bridge?

    And will the toll charge be made in one direction also?

    I think we should be told.

  16. Valerion


    Where are they going to find that many Welsh people to populate it?

  17. Steven Knox

    Round it up

    "Reader Will Oakley can award himself a foaming 0.9865 Bulgarian airbags of beer for the tip-off."

    Make it 1. Good job Will.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Round it up

      I could, but then it wouldn't fit nicely in a pint glass.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this metric or imperial

    I get so confused, I used to understand the old imperial values,

    height = double decker buses

    length = double decker buses, or football pitches

    area = football pitches

    volume = swimming pools

    weight = elephants

    distance = times around the world, or from earth to moon

    what is all this new modern measurements.

    area = wales ?? WTF

    The BBC used an analogy for our national debt as a number of Gerkins (building in london) worth of 10 pound notes stacked on top of each other. It just confused me as I got lost converting Gerkins into double decker buses.

    Its worth listening for crap analogies in our dumbed down BBC news... at least one a day.

  19. dssf

    They are going to need mega-police for this


  20. Anonymous Coward

    These guys should expand their units these guys should expand their units to include Reg standard ones

  21. Dom Davis

    Get your measurements right

    Wikipedia tells us that the Apatosaurus (to give it its correct name) was, on average, 75ft long. 36,078 * 75ft = 2,705,850ft or 512.471591 miles. Either the standard length of the measuring Apatosaurus is roughly 6 times bigger than average at over 453ft long or there is actually going to be 218,240 Apatosaurus worth of rail line to install, not 36,078. In future, instead of mucking about with silly 'modern' measurements we should stick to tried, tested and, above all, well defined measurements of Furlongs, Firkins and Fortnights.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear, something was lost in translation

    It seems the Chinese representatives have been visiting large urban centers in the US, like Washington DC, the LA area, or NYC, and have mistaken suburban sprawl for "progress".

    Having lived in some of those places earlier on, I'm glad I live where I do now*, where I can live in the woods, and still be less than 15 minutes from conveniences like a decent grocery store, bookstore, restaurant, or live entertainment (yes, REAL theater kids, not just watching the tourons, as we did in downtown DC).

    Clearly, we need to book the Chinese reps. on a tour of Mall of America (during the summer of course), so they can "progress at its Zenith!", or something like that. Maybe send them to the Atlantis resort - send Mum and the kiddies off to the water park while Dad burns off the expense account at the casino...

    See, as westerners we still have ample opportunity to ruin their culture and economy - we have first-hand experience right here at home! We just have to proactive and take advantage of this fine opportunity.

    *No I won't tell you where I am. Some of you will try to move there.

  23. tony trolle

    42 million flushing the toilet

    at the same time......poohami ?

  24. Brett Weaver

    Something Lost in Trans...

    We can guess where you are .. It sounds like Alexander City, Alabama!

    Actually its fun to imagine 35 million Chinese moving into one of those underpopulated southern states!

    I wonder if the South would stay the poor cousin for very long?

  25. mhenriday

    «... the inexorable rise of China

    has rendered meaningless ancient units of area such as the square mile». Mr Haines seems to have somehow failed to notice that the period he truncates reads in the orginal as follows : «The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.» 16000 square miles is the equivalent of 41440 square kilometres, which is probably the unit used by the Chinese. I leave the question of what it would be in Planck unit derivatives to Mr Haines' fertile (?) imagination....


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