Located in central China, Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, serves as the political, economic and cultural center of the province. The Yangtze, World’s third longest river and its largest tributary Hanshui meet in Wuhan and cut the city into three parts of Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang, namely, Three towns of Wuhan. As a line by Li Bai, a great poet in Tang Dynasty goes, “In the Yellow Crane Tower the jade flute is being played while in the River City of Wuhan plum blossoms are dropping in May”. This biggest metropolis in hinterland China was hence reputed as a River City. With an area of 8494 k㎡ and a population of 8.58 million, Wuhan administers 13 districts and 3 state-level development zones (Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone, East Lake Hi-tech Development Zone and Wujiashan Taiwan-investment Area).
As a typical garden city with mountains and waters, Wuhan is home to hundreds of hills and nearly 200 lakes of various sizes. With a water area making up 25.8% of its entire territory, Wuhan is ranked the first among major Chinese cities in water resources. East Lake, China’s biggest downtown lake, covers an area of 33 k㎡.
With a history of 3500 years, Wuhan’s urban civilization dates back to Panlong Town which is the oldest city ever unearthed in the Yangtze River basin. Scholars deemed it a breakthrough proof of combination of Yangtze Civilization and Yellow River Civilization. Over the past 3500 years, thanks to its well-developed transport network and abundant local products, this area has always been a place contested by all strategists and gradually developed from a military center into a regional political, commercial and trade center. As a result, Wuhan possessed an advantage and characteristic of diverse cultures. Xinhai(1911) Revolution overthrowing Qing Dynasty originated in Wuhan and bestowed the city with a culture of “be the first to rise in revolution” which fostered Wuhan people’s humanistic spirit of “dare to lead the world”.
As the biggest water, land and air transportation hub in inland China, Wuhan has long been well known as a “thoroughfare to nine provinces”. It is 1000 km away equally from major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Xi’an and plays a role of serving all directions. China’s north-south and east-west traffic arteries such as 4 trunk railway lines of Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-Kowloon, Wuhan-Jiujiang and Wuhan-Danjiangkou and 6 national expressways such as Beijing-Zhuhai and Shanghai-Chengdu meet in Wuhan. A passenger-cargo water transport network has taken shape, which combines trunk and branch route services and gives access to the sea. Wuhan Port boasts a key hub port on the Yangtze, which opens to foreign ships. As the biggest airport in central China, Wuhan Tianhe Airport is the only airport in the region offering visa service to foreign visitors. The operation of its second terminal building will enable Wuhan Airport to rank among China’s top 4 hub airports.
Wuhan has long been the center of commerce, trade and finance in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. A saying handed down from the past history goes like this, “goods sell well when they reach Hankou”. At he turning point from Ming Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, Hankou emerged as one of top 4 Famous Towns in China and “the most flourishing and bustling place in central China”. In the beginning of last century, Hankou was once the second biggest port city in the country and one of China’s top 4 financial centers. Today, this strategic city is still the rendezvous of businessmen and as busy and bustling as before. Up to date, the city is home to approximately 120 thousand shopping networks and stores. Of this total, 3 retailers based in Wuhan are among China’s top 30 franchising enterprises. The city’s total retail sales of consumer goods surpassed 100 billion RMB yuan. A number of international retail giants including Carrefour of France, Metro of Germany and Wal-Mart of the United States have set up operations in Wuhan one after another and gives great momentum to the local retail sector. Wuhan’s financial sector and securities transactions are dynamic as well. People’s bank of China and other state-owned commercial banks established regional headquarters in the city. Societe Generale of France set up its branch bank and dozens of other foreign banks and insurers have their representative offices in Wuhan.
As China’s key industrial base, Wuhan enjoys an industrial system with comprehensive and complementary categories of sectors. The city is stepping up efforts to develop its modern manufacturing sector, focusing on the technical escalation and industrial conglomeration. Priorities are given to 10 leading sectors of “iron and steel, automobile, machinery, electronic information, petroleum and chemical industry, environmental protection, tobacco and food, household electric appliances, textile and garment, pharmaceuticals, paper-making, packaging and printing. Industrial policies are used to encourage businesses to concentrate in industrial parks. Importance is placed on developing iron and steel, chemicals and environmental protection gathering area, automobile, machinery and electronics gathering area, opto-electronics and biological medicines gathering area, food industrial gathering area and metropolitan industrial gathering area. A number of huge enterprises with sales of over 10 billion RMB yuan and brands with autonomous core technology of “Made in Wuhan” are coming into being.
As one of the first open cities on the Yangtze, Wuhan has always been a top recipient of foreign investment in central and western China. Thanks to the strategy of “let opening up lead the way”, a great number of functional infrastructures have been built and put into use. As a result, the city’s comprehensive service functions are greatly upgraded. As part of changing government function efforts, a series of measures are introduced to improve the city’s investment climate, including one-stop united service system for external investors, mayors’ dialogue with investors, investors’ complaints receiving system and investment climate responsibility system. 2005 witnessed a continued strong growth momentum of foreign investment. Newly approved committed foreign investment registered 1.989 billion US dollars, an increase of 65.6 % from the previous year with an actually utilized foreign investment of 1.74 billion US dollars, growing by 14.5 %. 60 of world’s top 500 companies have made investment in Wuhan. In Addition, over 300 multinational companies have set up offices, of which over 100 have their regional head offices located in Wuhan.
As one of the country’s key scientific and educational bases, Wuhan enjoys the 3rd biggest scientific and educational capabilities among major Chinese cities. It is home to 52 universities including Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology with an enrolment of 700 thousand university students. There are 106 science and research institutes of various kinds, 1 state laboratory, 10 national key laboratories, 47 academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering. Wuhan is abundant in talent and human resources. East Lake area where Wuhan Optics Valley of China is located is China’s second talent-concentrated area. It is the country’s leader in R&D capabilities of optical communications, biological engineering, laser, microelectronics and new building materials.
The strategy of Rise of Central China advocated by the central government provides Wuhan with a golden opportunity of development. The central government proposes Wuhan to serve as a strategic fulcrum in the strategy of Rise of Central China. Under the correct leadership of the city party committee and the city government, 8.58 million Wuhan people are working hard to grab the opportunity and promote our brilliant city to rise ahead of others.
Welcome to Wuhan!