Xiamen

Xiamen  

Introduction

Xiamen is located in the south of Fujian Province on the western coast of the Taiwan Strait, facing Kinmen Island across the sea. It has long been an established port for foreign trade on China's southeastern coast and is a popular tourist destination. The city covers a total area of 1,699 square kilometers and has a registered population of 2.52 million (2009). Xiamen is one of China's first special economic zones, enjoying provincial-level economic administrative autonomy and local legislative power. It currently comprises six districts - Siming, Huli, Jimei, Haicang, Tong'an, and Xiang'an. Since becoming a special economic zone, Xiamen has enjoyed a sustained rapid and balanced economic growth. The city has been named "National Hygienic City" and won the "Nations in Bloom" award. It won the award of the "UN Habitat Scroll of Honor" in 2004 and named "Model City for Social Development" in 2005.

 

Transport

The Port of Xiamen, one of China's leading seaports, covers more than 500 square kilometers of sea and land surfaces. With a shoreline of 192.4 kilometers, the port currently has 97 berths in operation, including 48 for ships with a gross deadweight of more than 10,000 tons, and has an integrated passage capacity of 94.92 million tons. It is capable of accommodating ships with a gross deadweight of up to 150,000 tons, and has the conditions to handle the world's largest container vessel and luxury cruiser. All of the world's top 20 shipping companies, including Denmark's Maersk, American President Lines, COSCO and China Shipping, have set up branches or representative offices at the Port of Xiamen, where they operate container shipping routes linking to major ports around the world. In 2009, the Port of Xiamen handled 110 million tons of cargoes and 4.6804 million TEUs.

 

Xiamen Airport has opened 172 city routes, 140 of which are currently in service. Forty-three foreign air carriers operate services from Xiamen Airport. There are currently 110 air routes to 73 destinations throughout mainland China, Southeast Asian, Japan, South Korea, Americas, and Europe. In 2009, Xiamen Airport handled 11,329,500 passengers, making it China's 11th largest civil-aviation airport and 5th largest entry and exit airport.

 

Xiamen's roads stretch for 1,873.03 kilometers and include 444 road bridges. The city has put in place a road network comprising national and provincial highways, city expressways, and county, township and village roads. The Xiang'an Undersea Tunnel, opened in April 2010, is one of the five major entry and exit points to and from Xiamen Island, along with Xiamen, Haicang, Xinglin and Jimei Bridges. The recently completed ultra-large Xinglin Cross-sea Rail Bridge has ushered in an era of dual-line passenger-and-cargo rail transport for Xiamen. The Fuzhou-Xiamen Express Railway, opened in April 2010, stretches 274.9 kilometers along Fuzhou, Putian and Quanzhou and connects Xiamen to the Yangtze River Delta in the north and the Pearl River Delta in the south. The high-speed rail link between Fuzhou and Xiamen supports the development of the Economic Zone on the Western Coast of Taiwan Strait and has largely eliminated constraints on the railway network in China's southeastern coastal region. In the near future, four rail links - Fuzhou-Xiamen, Xiamen-Longyan, Longyan-Xiamen and Yingtan-Xiamen - will converge on Xiamen, turning the city into a major rail transport hub for the Fujian province.

 

With the development of closer economic, trade and cultural ties across the Taiwan Strait, passenger traffic on ferry services between Xiamen and Kinmen has surged in recent years. Since its opening in January 2001, the Xiamen-Kinmen ferry route has seen more than 5 million passenger trips. At present, there are 36 voyages daily between Xiamen and Kinmen, carrying more than 3,000 passengers. In 2009, approximately 1.2 million passenger journeys were recorded.

 

Foreign Trade and Investment

Xiamen has economic and trade ties with more than 200 countries and regions around the world. As a result of the impact of the global financial crisis, the total value of the city's imports and exports in 2009 declined moderately to US$ 43.314 billion, with US$ 27.668 billion of exports and US$ 15.646 billion of imports. In the same year, trade with Taiwan continued to surge forward, with imports from Taiwan rising 9.1% to US$ 3.404 billion and exports to Taiwan increasing 11.9% to US$ 796 million.

Xiamen, a major destination for foreign investment, has approved 8,609 foreign investment projects involving foreign capital of US$ 20.629 billion. Xiamen is home to the Haicang Investment Zone, the Torch High-tech Development Zone, and the Xiangyu Free Trade Zone, all of which offer concessionary tax rates and an investment environment in favour of business growth. Forty eight Fortune 500 companies, including Dell, Kodak, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Phillips, ABB, Panasonic, Toyota, Toshiba and TDK, have launched 86 projects in Xiamen, involving a total investment of US$ 3.865 billion.

 

Tourism

Xiamen's major tourist attractions include Gulangyu Islet, Jimei Academic Village, the Horticulture Expo Garden, Huli Hill Fort, Nanputuo Temple, and Island Ring Road. In 2009, the city recorded 13.601 million overseas tourist arrivals, including 944,900 ones with overnight stays; registered foreign-exchange tourism revenues of US$ 837 million, up 14.8%; and received 11.9425 million domestic tourist arrivals with revenues of RMB 26.826 billion.

For information on where to stay in Xiamen, you might like to check out Xiamen Airport Hotels. For ratings on Xiamen's hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, see TripAdviser. For a quirky view of Xiamen's many attractions, see also Dr Bill Brown's Xiamen Guide - the site doesn't seem to have been updated since 2008, but it's a still a useful resource if you're planning a trip to Xiamen.

 

Finance

Xiamen is home to 33 financial institutions, including policy banks, Sino-foreign joint-venture commercial banks, rural credit cooperatives, postal savings entities, and trusts. Sixteen foreign banks, including Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, and RZB Australia, have set up branches or representative offices in Xiamen.

The city also has 26 insurance companies and 138 insurance company branches; one securities corporation and 36 securities brokerage outlets; and three locally based and 12 non-locally-headquartered futures outlets.

 

Science, Education and Information Industries

Xiamen has five national-class specialised industrial bases for audiovisual communications, tungsten materials, software, semi-conductor lighting, and electric & electronic equipment respectively. The city is also home to China's only pilot cluster of opto-electronic display industries - the Xiamen Torch High-tech Zone. As of the end of 2009 there were 426 high-tech enterprises, 1,147 schools at all levels (including schools for adult education, but excluding private schools), and 17 higher-education institutions in Xiamen.

 

Culture, Health and Sports

Xiamen's Nanyin (Southern Music) has been acknowledged by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and nine cultural heritage items (including Xiamen Lacquer-thread Sculpture Techniques, Nanyin, Gezai Opera, Gaojia Opera, and Mid-autumn Festival Moon-cake Gambling) are included in the China National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage under Protection.

Xiamen has six cultural ensembles, nine cinemas, seven cultural heritage centers, four museums, six cultural heritage conservation authorities, and eight public libraries. Xiamen is home to nine city newspapers and 26 journals.

Xiamen boasts sound medical institutions. There are 1,057 health care institutions of all levels, of which eight are Class III hospitals. Xiamen also has leading-edge Central Blood Station, Ophthalmology Centre, Heart Centre and a 120-station Emergency Aid Network. The average life expectancy of Xiamen citizens is 78.72 years.

Xiamen is the birth place of several world champions in table tennis and badminton. Since 2003, it has successfully held Xiamen International Marathon for eight consecutive terms. In 2009, 33,100 people from 37 countries and regions signed up for the race.

 

Population, Quality of Life and Employment

Xiamen has a population of 2.52 million. Siming and Huli Districts on Xiamen Island account for 58.48% of the city's total population. The average annual income of urban residents stands at RMB 20,637, with average annual expenditure at RMB 17,990. The average annual net income of rural residents amounts to RMB 9,153, with average annual living expenses of RMB 6,852.

 

Social Welfare and Housing

Most employees in Xiamen are covered by welfare support including retirement pensions, health care, unemployment compensation, job-related injury compensation, and childbirth insurances. The city also has 38 live-in social welfare institutions. Fifteen government-subsidised housing projects are under construction in the city, involving a total investment of RMB 910 million, and 11,786 units have been completed so far. By the end of 2009, Xiamen had provided subsidised housing or low-rent housing for 5,496 low-income families.

 

Environmental Protection and Conservation

In Xiamen, the air quality is rated good on 98.6% of the days in a year and excellent on 44.1% of the days in a year. The city's average ambient noise level stands at 56.7 decibels, and the noise level along the city's major thoroughfares stands at 68.5 decibels. All the city's centralized drinking water sources meet applicable quality standards. All the wastewater discharged by the city's major industrial enterprises conforms to the relevant environmental standards, and 94.26% of industrial water is reused. 100% of the sulphur dioxide emissions from the city's major industrial enterprises comply with required environmental standards. 89.59% of solid waste of the city's major industries is reused in a comprehensive manner. All of the city's medical refuse and hazardous chemical waste is properly disposed of.

Xiamen's built-up urban areas have expanded to 212 square kilometers. The city has 55 parks covering a total area of 1,980 hectares, averaging 18.42 square meters per person. The built-up areas have 8,437 hectares of green cover, with a green coverage rate of 39.8%.