A sub-provincial division (Chinese: 副省级行政区; pinyin: Fùshěngjí xíngzhèngqū) in China is a prefecture-level city governed by a province promoted by half a level. Thus, it is half a level under the provincial level (hence the name sub-provincial) but half a level above the prefecture-level.
History: before 1912, 1912–49, 1949–present
Administrative division codes
The promotion applies to all its subdivisions, administrative institutions, and political parties. For example, the mayor of a sub-provincial division is equal in status to a vice-governor of a province.
A sub-provincial division is still administratively governed by a province, just like prefecture-level divisions. However, five of them are also cities specifically designated in the state plan (Chinese: 计划单列市计划单列市 / 計劃單列市), which enjoy the provincial level authority over economic issues—governmental finance, customs, economic strategy planning, economic policy, foreign economic affairs, banking, etc.
Sub-provincial divisions, similar to prefectural-level divisions, are administrative units comprising, typically, a main central urban area (the core city) surrounded by rural area, which together are divided into districts, and some surrounding counties or county-level cities (all promoted to sub-prefecture level) governed by the sub-provincial division on behalf of the province, which all have their own urban areas surrounded by their own rural areas.