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Overview of Zhuhai

Updated: 2021-04-06

Overview of Zhuhai

Zhuhai is in the southwest Pearl River estuary in Guangdong Province, with Hong Kong across the bay in the east and Macao adjacent in the south and nearby east. It is a key point of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. As one of China's first special economic zones, the city has continuously prioritized ecological development, enjoying 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 kept in balance with its overall quality of living. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world's longest cross-sea span and first of its kind in China, makes Zhuhai the only mainland city to directly connect Hong Kong and Macao by roadway.

Ever since the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Hengqin Area 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 venue. Economic and trade relations with Latin American countries have also progressively strengthened through diversification and the furtherance of secure access to the outside world.

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Jida, Xiangzhou District [File photo by Li Jianshu]

Profile

Residents and visitors alike enjoy a pleasant climate, with an average temperature at 22.3 degrees Celsius. The city also encompasses 217 islands, 147 of them larger than 500 sq m. The total area stands at 7,653 sq km, including 1,724 sq km of land. The population was 2.02 million at the end of 2019. Municipally, there are three districts -- Xiangzhou, Doumen, and Jinwan -- and five economic zones -- Gaolan Port, Zhuhai Hi-Tech National Industrial Development, 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. GDP grew by 3 percent to 348.19 billion yuan ($53.06 billion) in 2020. Fixed-asset investment rose by 13.1 percent to 223.04 billion yuan ($33.99 billion) whereas total retail sales of consumer goods dropped by 7.5 percent to 92.13 billion yuan ($14.04 billion) and foreign trade value decreased by 6.1 percent to 273.06 billion yuan ($41.61 billion).

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Xianglu Bay, Lovers Avenue, Old Xiangzhou, with Yeli Island and Zhuhai Opera House in foreground [File photo]

Industrial development

The city has focused on high-end service and manufacture, 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 high-end enterprises China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s deep-ocean engineering equipment, Sany Heavy Industry, Ferretti, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), and Gree Electric Appliances. The hi-tech field is highlighted by Kingsoft, Xiaomi Tech, Meizu, and United Laboratories. Chimelong International Ocean Tourist Resort, Hengqin Financial Island, and Shizimen Central Business District are represented in Zhuhai's high-end service industry.

The characterized marine economy and eco-agriculture spotlighted by green energy, island vacations and marine sports, modern agriculture, and eco-agriculture tourism. The city now hosts the campuses of Sun Yat-Sen, Beijing Normal, and Ji'nan universities, among others, and United International College (UIC) jointly founded by Beijing Normal and Hong Kong Baptist universities. National labs include Gree Research Institute, National Project Control System Labs, and National Food Safety Innovation Center (Hengqin). 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 industrial development. 

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Gaolan Port [File photo by Zhang Zhou]

Tourism

Zhuhai is the only city in China to be named one of the top 40 national tourism destinations for overall cityscape. On Hengqin Island is Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the largest of its kind worldwide, and Ocean Spring Resort in Jinwan District is the Number 1 ocean hot-spring facility in the country. International events that have favored the city include the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, China International Circus Festival, WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, ATP World Tour 250 Zhuhai Championships, Beach Music Festival, and International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians.

The international reputation of Zhuhai is on the rise thanks to word spreading of the city's global perspective and scientific opening-up. Zhuhai placed first among Westerners Top Ten Favorite Cities in China 2013, according to Globe magazine on Aug 9, 2013.

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Chimelong Ocean Kingdom [File photo]

Happy and livable city

Contentment is in the air with local per capita GDP, income, fiscal revenue, savings, and living space all in the forefront of Guangdong Province. Zhuhai was the first municipality to integrate urban and rural basic pension funds, and the first to offer 12-year free education. Local air quality test results are superb throughout the year.

Furthermore, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has named Zhuhai the Most Livable City in the Country for three consecutive years since the award was established in 2013. With a 44.31 percent green coverage rating and 27.1 square meters of green area per capita, Zhuhai merited the Dubai International Award for Best Practice in Improving the Living Environment granted by the UN Centre of Human Settlements (UNCHS) in 1998, the first Chinese city to earn the honor.

Zhuhai also is one of two pilot cities in the Sino-European Partnership on Low Carbon & Sustainable Urban Development project. Being a National Model in Environmental Protection, National Ecological Garden City, first among the Top 10 Livable Cities in China 2019 and Top 10 Chinese Cities in Sustainable Development 2018, and one of the Top 10 Happiest Cities in China 2018 are among other honors Zhuhai has received. The municipality was also designated a National Forest City by the State Forestry Administration in September 2016. Zhuhai is on track to evolve even further into an international city with a high standard of living, and to display China's beauty to the world.

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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge [File photo]

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. Among them are 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 (Su Chao-cheng), leader of the Canton-Hong Kong strike; Lin Weimin, first chair of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions; Yang Pao'an (Yang Pao-an), first Marxism disseminator in southern China; Tang Guo'an (Tong Kwo On), first president of Tsinghua University; Rong Guotuan (Jung Kuo-Tuan), 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 (Su Man-shu, Su Jian, Hsüan-ying), painter, poet, and litterateur; Gu Yuan, renowned printmaker; Tang Tingshu (Tong King-sing), renowned entrepreneur; and Xu Run (Hsü Jun, Hsü Yü-chai), 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 -- Gongle Yuan (Garden of Shared Joy) -- 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 hosts 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 Free Trade Zone, 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. 



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