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A glimpse into Xiamen

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Located on the west bank of the Taiwan Strait in Fujian province, Xiamen is an important central port and scenic tourist city on the southeast coast of China. 

Xiamen is divided into six districts: Siming, Huli, Jimei, Haicang, Tongan and Xiang'an. Altogether, these cover 1,699 square kilometers, with a permanent resident population of 4.11 million and a registered population of 2.43 million as of 2018. The city covers a sea area of 390 sq km. 

Located in the subtropical zone, Xiamen enjoys a pleasant climate and a beautiful natural environment with flowers blooming all year. It is nicknamed "the Egret Island" because it has been a habitat of white egrets since ancient times. Xiamen also has long enjoyed the reputation as a charming "Garden on the Sea". Xiamen is an international coastal city with its own characteristics, standing out with a uniquely shaped bay, and is rich in spectacular subtropical scenery featuring mountains and rivers. Xiamen is full of rich nature in which one can appreciate ancient buildings and enjoy Minnan (southern Fujianese) culture, making the city one of the most popular tourist city destinations in China. 

Xiamen has seen its GDP and total fiscal revenue grow at an average annual rate of 15.6% and 19.4% perce since it became one of the first four special economic zones to be established on the Chinese mainland in 1980. 

In 2018, the city's GDP was 479.14 billion yuan ($71.29 billion), an increase of 7.7%; total fiscal revenue and local fiscal revenue reached 128.33 billion yuan and 75.45 billion yuan, up 8.1% and 8.3%; fixed-asset investment jumped by 10.1%; total retail sales of consumer goods grew by 6.6% to 154.24 billion yuan; per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents was 54,401 yuan and 22,410 yuan, increasing by 8.8% and 9.5%. 

In recent years, Xiamen has become one of China's top 10 innovative cities by taking forward trials of the largest number of Chinese major reforms with the strongest, most centralized and most effective measures. 

Over the past three years since the establishment of the Xiamen Free Trade Zone, great advancements have been made in creating a world-class business environment. For example, Xiamen pioneered 52 reform measures in the country. The city experienced a rise through the ranks of international business environments from 61st in 2014 to the current 38th in a "global economy" list. 

Xiamen was recognized as a National Advanced City for Entrepreneurship in 2012 and has proved it deserves that title. It has initiated a modern industrial system led by high-end manufacturing and modern service industries and featuring strategic emerging industries such as biomedicine and integrated circuits. There are several 100-billion-yuan industrial clusters that develop flat-panel displays, computers and communications, shipping logistics, software and information, and tourism MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions). The world's largest touch screen component research and development (R&D) and production base and the world's largest high-end LED bulb manufacturing and export base are located in Xiamen. It is also home to the Asia Pacific's largest aviation maintenance base. 

Xiamen is a bridge for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. More than 70% of Taiwanese residents have their ancestral homeland in the Minnan region with Xiamen at the geographic center. Three of the country's six State-level Taiwan investment zones found a home in Xiamen, and the actual use of Taiwan capital has exceeded $10 billion. 

In 2018, the number of passengers traveling across the Taiwan Strait through Xiamen Port numbered 2.26 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total number of passengers crossing the Strait. The Xiamen-Kinmen ship route opened in 2001 under the "mini-three-links" policy (including direct postal, transport and trade links between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan) and has transported 17.78 million passengers, making it a "golden channel" for cross-Strait exchanges. The number of batches of Taiwan food imported through Xiamen Port accounted for more than half of the total batches of imported Taiwan food to the mainland, and Taiwan fruit imports through Xiamen Port accounted for 80% of the total amount to the mainland. Major Taiwan-related activities such as the Straits Forum and the Cross-Strait (Xiamen) Cultural Industries Fair have grown in influence, playing an increasingly important role in promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. 

Xiamen was the host city of the ninth BRICS Summit held on Sept 4, 2017.