About Hubei: Basic Information and Economic and Social Development
Located in Central China and at the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Hubei covers a total area of 18.59 km2 with a population of 61 million. It has 12 municipalities under the direct administration of the province, 1 autonomous prefecture, 3 counties under the direct administration of the province, three sub-prefecture-level cities, one forestry district, 21 county-level cities and 40 counties.
Unique geographical advantages for developing its economy in Central China. With Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway and Shanghai-Chengdu Expressway stretching from east to west, and Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and Beijing-Kowloon Railway passing through from north to south, and easy access to the Yangtze River and the sea, Hubei enjoys exceptional advantages in transportation. As the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway is open to traffic and the age of high-speed rail comes, a three-hour economic circle centered on Wuhan with the radius of 1,200 km has taken shape, covering 70% of large and medium-sized cities, together with two large economic circles, i.e. the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. Wuhan New Port has become the first port with a handling capacity of 100 million tons at the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River. With such a unique position, Hubei is turning itself from a regional “Gateway to Nine Provinces” to a national “Gateway to the Whole Country”. In 2014, its GDP reached 2.7 trillion RMB ($ 435 billion), increased by 9.7%, ranking the 7th nationwide. And the per capita GDP was $7,600. According to the statistics by 2014, 228 of the Fortune 500 Companies (including 159 overseas companies) have established their presence here.
Abundant resources. The Yangtze River, known as “the Golden Waterway”, flows 1,061 km traversing Hubei from west to east. Hubei, decorated with lakes and rivers, has more than 4,000 rivers of different sizes, with their lengths totaling 60,000 km, thus giving it the name, “A Province with One Thousand Lakes”. Rich water resources enable the installed capacity developed or under development rank top nationwide, with the generating capacity of the Three Gorges Project outranking other hydropower stations worldwide. Hubei boasts rich mineral resources, among which 138 kinds have already been discovered. The reserves of phosphorus, gypsum and rock salt are among the top in China.
Time-honored history and profound culture. Hubei is one of the places where Chinese civilization originated and is the birthplace of Chu Culture. It possesses abundant tourism resources featuring with beautiful landscapes and places of historic and cultural interests, and world-class tourism brands including the Three Gorges, the Wudang Mountain, Shennongjia Forest District, Chu Culture and so on. Emperor Yan, the ancestor of the Chinese people, was born in Suizhou, Hubei. The province witnessed many important historic events of the Three Kingdoms Period. Wuhan, the capital city, is the place where the 1911 Revolution began.
Solid industrial foundation. Crowned as a “land of fish and rice”, it is one of the key production bases for commodity grain, cotton and oil, and the largest manufacturing base for freshwater products. Thanks to the firm foundation and comprehensive supporting strength, Hubei serves as an important base for auto industry and iron & steel industry, thus forming a modern industrial system supported by auto industry, iron & steel industry, petrochemical industry, electronic information industry, food industry, textile industry, equipment manufacturing industry has taken shape.
Strengths in science and education. As the third largest education center in China, it is also a major base for fundamental researches, and new and hi-tech researches, leading the fields in laser, optoelectronics information, bioengineering, and new materials. There are over 120 institutions of higher learning with more than 1.3 million college students and about 62 fellows of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. In addition, Wuhan East Lake Hi-tech Development Zone is the second Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone nationwide.
Great vitality. As a noted historic and cultural city, and the central city in central China, Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, used to have a foreign trade port second only to Shanghai. The Greater Wuhan Metropolitan Area, composed of Wuhan and eight surrounding cities, has been approved as a pilot zone where comprehensive supporting reforms for the building of a resource-conserving and environmental-friendly society take place, making it the most resource-rich area full of vitality, as well as one of the regions with the greatest potential in central and western China. An urban development pattern featuring with one provincial center of Wuhan city and two provincial sub-centers of Xiangyang city and Yichang city is taking shape. Hubei enjoys multiple comparative advantages. For instance, it is not only endowed with abundant resources, huge environmental capacity and relatively low factor costs as the developing regions, but with solid industrial base, strength in science and education, and convenient transportation as the developed areas.