Why do authoritarian regimes try to improve the quality of their governance? In the absence of democratic institutions to monitor, reward and punish their performance, authoritarian politicians are normally expected to seek their self-interest through corruption and rewards to cronies, rather than providing for the public welfare. However, the Chinese state has actively promoted improved governance in recent years, with greater attention to quality of life issues to balance the primary focus on sustaining rapid economic growth. This paper analyses intra-national variation in the provision of public goods in urban China and the impact of public goods on regime support. Does better governance lead to higher levels of public support for the regime, even in the absence of democratic elections? Our evidence suggests that it does, with a greater impact for the local level than for the centre.