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The city of Nantong  A Night view
The city of Nantong   A Night view

General Information
Nantong, known as a "Pearl of the River and Sea", is a city with a history since the Chinese Han Dynasty. It has been found that primitive clan inhabitants lived in this region 5,000 years ago.

As one of China’s first fourteen coastal cities permitted to open to international trade and economy, Nantong has a national reputation of "the First Window on the Yangtze River" and is one of the national tourist centers. The city is listed on the China's Top 100 Counties (county-level cities) for its comprehensive strength in economy. With the completion of the Sutong (Suzhou-Nantong) Yangtze River Bridge in April 2008, the city is becoming the best city for its economic growth and foreign investments in the Yangtze Delta Economic Zone.

Nantong City is one of Jiangsu thirteen prefecture-level cities which administers two old municipal districts and 6 county-level cities or counties, including Hai'an and Rudong counties, Haiman, Qidong, Rugao and Tongzhou cities.

Mr Zhang Jian, a local prominent statesman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, founded Nantong’s first modern cotton mill in 1899. His pioneer enterprises finally developed into a business empire and were a solid foundation for Nantong for its later industrial modernization.

Geography, Resources and Climate
Nantong City is situated on the northern bank of the Yangtze River of Jiangsu province, facing Shanghai across the river. Standing next to the Pacific Ocean, the city and its jurisdiction have a coastline of more than 400 kilometers along the East China Sea, the river bank of 164 kilometer along the Yangtze River, plus enormous wetland and beaches.

The nature resources include crude oil, natural gas, coal and marble. Water is another nature resource, including rivers and marine area. Each year fishing industry brings the city millions of yuans. To reduce the carbon dioxide emission, wind power may become a source of new energy in this coastal region in the near future.

Nantong, plus the cities under its jurisdiction, has a warm and wet subtropical climate under the influence of East Asia monsoon. Seasons are distinct and residents enjoy sufficient sunlight and abundant rainfall. The average temperature is approximately 15°C with annual precipitation of more than1,000 mm.

Nantong jurisdiction includes 8 county-level divisions, of which two are districts, two are counties, and four are cities. The districts are old urban areas of Nantong while other counties and cities are recently designated as county-level districts being considered. The special industrial zones are specifically designated as new investment areas.

Area and Population
Nantong City has a population of 760,000 and has a physical land mass of 381 square. Together with 6 county-level cities under its jurisdiction, Nantong Prefecuture City owns a population of near 8 million and a land mass of 8,001 square kilometers, plus more than 10,000 square kilometers of marine area.

Economy, Industry and Environment
Nantong was traditionally an agricultural land and an old site for salt-making in history. Its principal agricultural products include cotton, rice, wheat, fishing, fruit, and more. Currently, the city is making more efforts to upgrade its farming sectors and increase production of organic foods.

Nantong was a traditional industrial city of China back in early time of its history from salt to cotton textile productions. From Mr Zhang Jian’s first cotton mill to today’s industrial corporations, Nantong has been a new industrial hub in the north of Jiangsu since it opened its door to the outside world two decates earlier. With its excellent geographic location and the completion of two Yangtze River bridges, the prefecture jurisdiction is attracting more investment funding nationwide. Many of these investments come also from many international corporations. In October 2007, Singapore RGM International has signed an agreement with Rudong, a county under Nantong's jurisdiction, to invest a port project, costing 9 billion Yuan or $1.33 billion USD at Rudong Yangkou Port.

Today, Nantong is one of the fast-growing coastal cities in China. With the openings of Sutong (Suzhou-Nantong) Yangtze Bridge in April 2008 and Chonghai (Shanghai's Chongming-Nantong's Haimen) Crossing Yangtze Bridge in 2009, the city has been listed as the number one city in the Yangtze Delta Economic Zone for foreign investment, surpassing even its all rivals including Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing.

Economic growth and environmental conservation have always seemed like two different approaches. As a sprawling metropolis, Nantong has experienced environment damage from its industrialization. The municipal government has been putting more stiff environmental policies into practice over years and has spent tremendous funds to curb the pollution and to plane more trees along its roads. The city is shutting down more factories that do not meet the environment laws.

Transportation and Tourism
Nantong, traditionally, had only highway and waterway transportation means available. The recent establishment of railways, Xin-Chang Railway and Ningqi (Nanjing-Qidong) Railway, has given the city and its jurisdiction an additional advantage, efficiently linking this area with the national railway network. Tonghu (Tongzhou-Shanghai) Railway is still under construction.

Nantong Port opens to near 200 international ports from 70 countries and regions. The port is a major port for container lines from Hongkong, Japan and South Korea. In 2007, Singapore RGM International has signed an agreement with Rudong County to invest $1.33 billion USD at Rudong’s Yangkou Port to build a new port area.

Two Yangtze River bridges, Sutong (Changshu city of Suzhou to Nantong) Yangtze River Bridge officially opened in June 2008, spending about 1 hours to Shanghai. The Chongming-Qidong Yangtze River Bridge has been under construction since 2004 and hopefully be finished in 2009. The opening of Sutong Yangtze Bridge improves profoundly the traffic situation for Nantong, its jurisdiction and even for the entire coastal area of Jiangsu, connecting the Jiangsu North directly to the economic booming Jiangsu South and Shanghai. It makes Nantong the most competitive city for investment in the region.

Nantong Xingdong Airport was originally a small airport and reopened after a major renovation in 2003. The airport has now established flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Xiameng, Shengzheng, Qingdao, and Wuhan, and more airways will be established soon.

Nantong is a hot tourist destination and its coastal line and landmarks would give you unforgettable memories. Langshan Hill, Wolf Hill in Mandarin Chinese, is just a small mount. But with its surrounding natural reserve and historic relics, Cuijing Buddhist Hall, it is worth to visit. Shuihuiyuang Garden, meaning Water Garden, is an unique Hui-styled garden in all China classic gardens.

Nantong is the city that hosts a comprehensive university, Nantong University. The higher education institution includes 21 schools and has a number of total 22,000 students registered in 2007.

The city has well instituted compulsory primary education system. The secondary schools including high schools achieves significant graduate rate. Its adult vocational education system has brought diverse programs to its labor forces.

Culture and Folklore
Established in 1906, Nantong Social Welfare Institute was originally created by Zhang Jian as a house for orphans, the aged, and the disabled. The institute occupies a beautiful land and has a relaxing surrounding.

A local prominent statesman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mr Zhang Jian (Chang Chien), founded Nantong’s first modern cotton mill in 1899. He finally developed the mill into a business empire that comprised a huge industrial complex including flour, oil, silk reeling mills, distillery, a machine shop and schools. The early industrial development helps the city in its later industrial modernization.

Nantong Kite is one of the six most popular Chinese traditional kites, which are counted as Beijing kite, Weifang kite, Tianjing kite, Nantong kite, Jiangnan kite and Taiwan kite. The artistic style of the kite, actually produced in Rugao, a county-levle city under the jurisdiction of Nantong, could be generalized as being plain on sculpture, being installed whistle with high and low voices and demonstrating elegance on colored pattern. The most outstanding characteristic of Nantong kites is the sound devices with various whistles, big or small, with the quantity differing, etc.

Notable Personage
Zhang Jian (1853 - 1926), nicknamed the “King of Nantong” is a well-known statesman and industrialist of Nantong. He was a famous scholar at the very end of the China’s last ancient dynasty, the Qing, and started his most brilliant career by founding modern industries, including cotton mills in 1899, schools, libraries, theaters, and museums. These initial mills and schools eventually became prominent foundations for Nantong’s industrialization and education. He was a great man not just in the city’s past but also in China’s history, and his productive career left Nantong a solid foundation economically, industrially and culturally, preparing the city for a brilliant future.

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