Zhuhai is in the southwest of the Pearl River estuary in Guangdong Province, with Hong Kong in the east and Macao in the south. It is a key point of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. As one of China’s first special economic zones, the city has always prioritized ecological development, boasting one of the best environments in China.
Local lands have been reasonably developed, low-end industry is kept in check, and the population count is nicely balanced with its overall quality of living. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest cross-sea span and the first of its kind in China, makes Zhuhai the only mainland city to directly connect Hong Kong and Macao by roadway.
Ever since the Hengqin FTZ (Free Trade Zone) came into operation in 2015, the city has played an increasingly important role in China’s Belt & Road Initiative. It has cooperated with Macao to build a world-class tourism and leisure center and China-Portugal economic and trade cooperation platform. Economic and trade relations with Latin American countries have also been continuously strengthened through diversification and the furthering of secure access to the outside world.
Zhuhai enjoys a pleasant climate, with an average temperature at 22.3 degrees Celsius. It’s home to 217 islands, 147 of them larger than 500 sq m. The city’s total area stands at 7,653 sq km, including 1,724 sq km of land. It had a population of 1.6 million (at the end of 2015), with 1.1 million locally registered. Zhuhai has three districts（Xiangzhou, Doumen and Jinwan）and five economic zones (Gaolan Port Economic, Zhuhai Hi-Tech , Zhuhai Free Trade, Hengqin FTZ, and Zhuhai Wanshan Marine Development Experimental).
It’s the second largest port city (behind Shenzhen) in China and has eight national Category-1 ports -- Gongbei, Jiuzhou, Port of Zhuhai, Wanshan, Hengqin, Doumen, Wanzai and the Cross-Border Industrial Zone. In 2015, local GDP reached 203.8 billion yuan ($31.3 billion), up 10 percent year-on-year. The general public budget revenue reached 26.99 billion yuan ($4.15 billion), up 17.2 percent. And GDP per capita stood at approximately $20,000.
The city has focused on high-end service, high-end manufacturing, hi-tech industry, characterized marine economy and eco-agriculture over the years to promote economic transformation. McKinsey & Co has rated it first among ten domestic cities including Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Beijing, in terms of sustainable development.
Zhuhai is also home to such high-end manufacturing enterprises as China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s deep ocean engineering equipment, Sany Heavy Industry, Ferretti, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co (CAIGA) and Gree Electric Appliances. The high-tech field is highlighted by Kingsoft, Xiaomi Tech, Meizu and United Laboratories. Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort, Hengqin financial service and Shizimen Central Business District are represented in Zhuhai’s high-end service industry.
The characterized marine economy and eco-agriculture feature green energy, island vacations and marine sports, modern agriculture and eco-agriculture tourism. The city now has ten campuses of universities including Sun Yat-Sen University, Beijing Normal University, Jinan University, and United International College (UIC) jointly founded by Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University. National labs include Gree Research Institute, National Project Control System Labs, and the National Food Safety Innovation Center. Zhuhai has worked with Tsinghua University and South China University of Technology in building new R&D centers, and in providing innovation platforms and talent support for economic transformation and industry development.
Zhuhai is the only city in China to be named one of the top 40 national tourism destinations for its overall cityscape. It has Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the biggest of its kind worldwide, and Ocean Spring Resort, the No.1 ocean hot-spring facility in this country. International events that have favored the city include the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, China International Circus Festival, WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Beach Music Festival, and International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians.
The international reputation of Zhuhai is on the rise thanks to its global perspective and scientific opening-up. Zhuhai placed first among Westerners' Top Ten Favorite Cities in China 2013, according to Globe magazine on August 9, 2013.
Happy and livable city
Happiness is in the air in Zhuhai, with local per capita GDP, income, fiscal revenue, savings and living space all in the forefront of Guangdong province. Zhuhai was the first to integrate urban and rural basic pension fund, and the first to offer 12-year free education. Local air quality is superb throughout the year.
Furthermore, Zhuhai has been ranked by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as The Most Livable City in China for two straight years. It obtained the Dubai International Award for Best Practice in Improving the Living Environment granted by the UN Centre of Human Settlements.
Zhuhai also is one of two pilot cities of the Sino-European Partnership on Low Carbon and Sustainable Urban Development project. Being named a National Model in Environmental Protection, a National Ecological Garden City, and one of the Top 10 Happiest Cities in China 2014 are among other honors Zhuhai has received. In the future, Zhuhai will strive to evolve even further into an international city with a high standard of living, and to display China’s beauty to the world.
Culture and history
As one of the birthplaces of maritime civilization in southern China, Zhuhai has been home to island people for 6,000 years. The ancient Maritime Silk Road runs across the city and adds to its broad and unique maritime culture.
Many famous and legendary figures were originally from Zhuhai, including Tang Shaoyi (Tong Shao Yi), the first prime minister of the Republic of China (1912-49); Chen Fang (Chun Afong), first consul-general of the Qing government in Honolulu; Su Zhaozheng, leader of the Canton-Hong Kong strike; Lin Weimin, first chair of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions; Yang Pao’an, first Marxism disseminator in southern China; Tang Guo’an (Tong Kwo On), first president of Tsinghua University; Rong Guotuan, China’s first world champion from the 25th World Table Tennis men’s singles; Rong Hong (Yung Wing), first Chinese student studying abroad to receive a PhD from the US; Su Manshu, painter, poet and litterateur; Gu Yuan, renowned printmaker; Tang Tingshu, well-known entrepreneur; and Xu Run, founder of Renji Hospital, the first one in Shanghai. In addition, inscriptions can be found on precipices dating back 3,000 years at Gaolan Island’s Baojing Bay, and the Meixi Royal Stone Archways given to Chen Fang by Emperor Kuang hsu (Guangxu). Zhuhai also possesses an ancient park built by Tang Shaoyi during the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the early Republic of China.
As a pioneer in China’s Reform & Opening-up, Zhuhai has set many records. It hosted China’s only international air show -- the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition; established China’s first cross-border Zhuhai-Macao Industrial Zone; initiated the Hengqin FTZ, the first one in China under a “One Island, Two Systems” model; and participated in constructing China’s first cross-border sea span, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.