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Chengdu ( ), located in southwest People's Republic of Chinamarker, is the capital of Sichuanmarker province and a sub-provincial city. Chengdu is also one of the most important economic centers, transportation and communication hubs in Southwestern China. According to the 2007 Public Appraisal for Best Chinese Cities for Investment, Chengdu was chosen as one of the top ten cities to invest in out of a total of 280 urban centers in China.

More than four thousand years ago, the prehistorical Bronze Age culture of Jinsha ( ) established itself in this region. The fertile Chengdu Plainmarker, on which Chengdu is located, is called Tianfuzhi guo ( ) in Chinese, which literally means "the country of heaven", or more often seen translated as "the Land of Abundance". It was recently named China's 4th-most livable city by China Daily.

History

Statue of Mao


In the early 4th century BC, the 9th Kaiming king of the ancient Shu moved his capital to the city's current location from today's nearby Pixian. He was said to have been inspired by the ancient story of King Tai of Zhou, Grandfather of King Wu of Zhou, moving his capital. History recorded King Tai of Zhou's move as "it took a year to become a town; it took three years to become a capital". Following this, the king of Shu named the new city as "Cheng Du", which means "become a capital" (In Chinese, the word "cheng" means "become", "du" means "capital"). There are, however, several versions of why the capital was moved to Chengdu, and more recent theories of the name's origin point to it as stemming from, or referring to, earlier non-Han inhabitants and/or their languages.

After the conquest of Shu by the State of Qin in 316 BC, a new city was founded by the Qin general Zhang Yi (who as a matter of fact had argued against the invasion). This can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese Chengdu. It was renamed Yìzhou ( ) during the Han Dynasty.

During the partition following the fall of the Eastern Han Dynasty, i.e. the era of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei founded the southwest kingdom of Shu-Han ( ; 221-263) with Chengdu as its capital.

During the Tang Dynasty, both the "Poet God" Li Bаí ( ) and the "Poet Sage" Dù Fǔ ( ) spent some part of their lives in Chengdu. Du Fu constructed the celebrated "Caotáng" (thatched cottage or grass-hut) in the second year of his four-years stay (759-762). But today's Caotang, a rather sumptuous house in the traditional style, was only constructed in 1078 in memory of Du Fu. As early as the Tang dynasty more than 1,200 years ago, Chengdu became one of the foremost commercial cities in China, second to only Yangzhoumarker.

Chengdu was also the birthplace of the first widely used paper money in the world (Northern Song Dynasty, around A.D. 960). The Qingyang Gong Taoist temple was built in Chengdu in the ninth century, meaning "Green Goat".

Two rebel leaders, one around the end of Song Dynasty, the other near the end of Ming Dynastymarker, set up the capitals of their short-lived kingdoms here, called Dàshu ( ) and Dàxi ( ), respectively.

During the Second World War the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) government under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek fled to Sichuan Provincemarker to escape the invading Japanese forces. They brought with them businesspeople, workers and academics, who founded many of the industries and cultural institutions which continue to make Chengdu an important center.

In 1944 the American XX Bomber Command launched Operation Matterhorn, an ambitious plan to base B-29 Superfortresses at Chengdu and strategically bomb the Japanese Home Islandsmarker. Because the operation required a massive airlift of fuel and supplies over the Himalayas, it was not a significant military success, but it did earn Chengdu the distinction of launching the first serious retaliation against the Japanese homeland.

During the Chinese Civil War, Chengdu was the last city on the Chinese mainland to be held by the Kuomintang-controlled government. R.O.C.marker President Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo directed the defence of the city at Chengdu Central Military Academy until 1949, when the city fell into Communist hands. The People's Liberation Army took the city on December 10 and the remnants of the Nationalist Chinese government fled to Taiwanmarker.

Today the industrial base is very broad, including light and heavy manufacturing, aluminum smelting and chemicals. The textile industry remains important, with cotton and wool milling added to the traditional manufacturing of silk brocade and satin.

Today it is the headquarters of the Chengdu Military Region.

On May 12, 2008, a 8.0 magnitude earthquakemarker struck causing damage to the area, killing about 80,000 people and injuring 26,413 in the area as of May 24, 2008. 4,021 of the casualties and most of the property damage were from Dujiangyan and Pengzhou, two suburban cities of Chengdu. While 75 kilometers (48 miles) from the epicenter, the urban area did not suffer any discernible damage..

Geography and climate



Chengdu has a humid subtropical climate and is largely mild and humid. Chengdu is situated at the western edge of the Sichuan Basinmarker and is therefore sheltered from northwest winds from Siberiamarker in winter by the Qinling Mountains to the north; the short winter is milder than in the Lower Yangtzemarker because of the sheltering effect of the Qinling. Snow is rare but there are a few periods of frost each winter. The summer is longer, but not as hot as in the "Three Furnaces" ( ) cities of Wuhanmarker, Nanjingmarker, and Chongqingmarker in the Lower Yangtze. The average daytime high in July and August is 29°C, with afternoon highs sometimes reaching 33°C or higher. The average low in January is 3°C, with lows sometimes dropping below freezing. Rainfall is common year-round but peaks in July and August.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg high °C 9 (49F) 11 16 22 26 28 29 (85F) 29 25 21 16 10
Avg low temperature °C 3 (38F) 5 8 13 17 21 22 (72F) 22 19 15 10 5
Source: MSN Weather
Chengdu has one of the lowest sunshine totals in China (less sunshine annually than Londonmarker), and most days are cloudy even if without rain. This is especially so in the winter months, when it is typically interminably grey and dreary. Spring (March-April) tends to be sunnier, warmer and drier than autumn (October-November).

Administrative divisions

Chengdu is a sub-provincial city. It has direct jurisdiction over 9 districts (区 qu), 4 county-level cities (市 shi) and 6 counties (县xian) :

Subdivision
Chengdu City Proper   Chengdu Rural
Qingyang-qu 青羊区   Pengzhou-shimarker 彭州市
Jinjiang-qu 锦江区   Qionglai-shi 邛崃市
Jinniu-qu 金牛区   Chongzhou-shimarker 崇州市
Wuhou-qu 武侯区   Jintang-xianmarker 金堂县
Chenghua-qu 成华区   Shuangliu-xian 双流县
Chengdu Suburban   Pi-xian 郫县
Longquanyi-qu 龙泉驿区   Dayi-xianmarker 大邑县
Qingbaijiang-qu 青白江区   Pujiang-xian 蒲江县
Xindu-qu 新都区   Xinjin-xianmarker 新津县
Wenjiang-qu 温江区   Dujiangyan-shimarker 都江堰市


City nicknames

Chengdu is famous for its teahouses
The name "Chengdu" has never changed since the city was founded, and the city has always been in the same location. The nicknames below are not formal names. In the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-23 AD), brocade produced in Chengdu enjoyed great popularity among the royal and elite class in China. An emperor created the office of Jin Guan (锦官) to oversee brocade production in Chengdu. Since then, Chengdu has been called "Jin Guan Cheng" (锦官城) meaning Brocade Official's City, or in its short form, "Jin Cheng" (锦城) meaning Brocade city. In the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960), Mengchang, the king of the Later Shu Kingdom, ordered the planting of hibiscus on the fortress wall surrounding the city. After this, Chengdu started being called the City of Hibiscus. Nowadays, the hibiscus is still the city flower of Chengdu, but the last city wall was torn down in the 1960s, along with the Royal Palace situated in the middle of the city, where the statue of Mao Zedong now stands.

Culture and folklore

The native language in Chengdu is Sichuanese (四川话), otherwise referred as Sichuan dialect. More precisely, "Chengdu Dialect" (成都话/成都方言) is widely used in lieu of "Sichuanese" due to the largely different accents of Sichuanese speakers residing elsewhere.

People from Chengdu (or Sichuan, in general) tend to eat spicy food. Local specialties include Grandma Chen's Tofu (Mapo doufu), Chengdu Hot pot, and Dan Dan Mien (literally meaning, "Noodles carried on a pole" (Dan Dan Noodles). All three dishes are spicy. Mapo Doufu and Dan Dan Mien contain Sichuan peppers (huājiāo; 花椒; literally "flower pepper") to give them additional flavor.

An article by the Los Angeles Times (2006) called Chengdu "China's party city" for its carefree lifestyle. Chengdu outnumbers Shanghai in the number of tea houses and bars despite having less than half the population. The inhabitants have a reputation in China for having a laid-back attitude and for knowing how to enjoy life.

Economy

Chunxi Road
The main industries in Chengdu - which include food, medicine, machinery and the information technology - are supported by numerous large-scale enterprises, such as Chengdu Sugar and Wine Co. Ltd., Chengdu Food Group, Sichuan Medicine Co. Ltd., Chengdu Automobile Co. Ltd. etc. Many high-tech enterprises from outside Chengdu are also beginning to settle down there.

Chengdu is becoming the favorite city for investment in central and western China. Among the World's 500 largest companies, 133 multinational enterprises have had subsidiaries or branch offices in Chengdu by October 2009. These MNEs include Intel, Sony, and Toyota that have assembly and manufacturing bases, as well as Motorola, Ericsson, and Microsoft that have R&D centers in Chengdu.

The National Development and Reform Commission has formally approved Chengdu's proposed establishment of a national bio-industry base there. The government of Chengdu has recently unveiled a plan to create a ¥90 billion bio pharmaceutical sector by 2012. China's aviation industries have begun construction of a high-tech industrial park in the city that will feature space and aviation technology. The local government plans to attract overseas and domestic companies for service outsourcing and become a well-known service outsourcing base in China and worldwide.

Electronic and IT industry

Chengdu has long been established as a national base for electronic and IT industry. Several key national electronic R&D institutes are located in Chengdu. Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone has attracted a variety of multinationals, at least 30 Fortune 500 companies and 12,000 domestic companies, including Intelmarker, IBM, NOKIA, Motorola, SAP, Siemens, Canon, HP, Xerox, Microsoft, Tieto , NIIT and Wipro, as well as domestic powerhouses such as Lenovo.

Intel's Chengdu factory is its second in China, after its Shanghai factory, and the first such large-scale foreign investment in electronic industry in interior mainland China. Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, has invested US$525 million in two assembly and testing facilities in Chengdu. Following the footsteps of Intel, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), the world's third largest foundry, set up an assembly and testing plant in Chengdu. Intel's rival AMDmarker is likewise set to open an R&D center in this city.

In November 2006, IBM signed an agreement with the Chengdu High-Tech Zone to establish a Global Delivery Center, its fourth in China after Dalian, Shanghai and Shenzhenmarker, within the Chengdu Tianfu Software Park. Scheduled to be operational by February 2007, this new center will provide multi-lingual application development and maintenance services to clients globally in English, Japanese and Chinese, and to the IBM Global Procurement Center, recently located to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. On March 23, 2008, IBM announced at the "West China Excellent Enterprises CEO Forum" that the southwest working team of IBM's Global Business Services is now formally stationed in Chengdu. On May 28, 2008, Zhou Weikun, president of IBM China disclosed that IBM Chengdu would increase its staff number from the present 600 to nearly 1,000 by the end of the year.

Over the past few years, Chengdu's economy has flourished rapidly. Chengdu has been quick to become a major base for communication infrastructure, with one of China's nine top level postal centers and one of six national telecom exchanges.

In 2009, Chengdu will be hosting the World Cyber Games Grand Finals (11-15 November). It will be the first time China had hosted the world's largest computer and video game tournament.

Financial industry

The financial centre of Chengdu
Chengdu is now building itself to be the financial hub for Western People's Republic of China and has successfully attracted major international financial institutions, including Citigroup, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, etc.

Historically, Chengdu has marked its name in the history of financial innovation. The world’s first ever paper currency 'Jiao Zi' was seen in Chengdu in the year 1023, during the Song Dynasty of ancient China.

Now, Chengdu is not only the gateway of Western People's Republic of China for foreign financial institutions, but also a booming town for Chinese domestic financial firms. The Chinese monetary authority, People's Bank of China (China’s central bank), set its southwest China headquarters in Chengdu City. In addition, almost all domestic banks and securities brokerage firms located their regional headquarters or branches in Chengdu. At the same time, the local financial firms of Chengdu are strengthening their presences nationally, notably, West China Securities, GuoJin Securities and Chengdu Commercial Bank. Moreover, on top of banks and brokerage firms, the flourish of local economy lured more and more financial service firms to the city to capitalize on the economic growth. KPMG opened this first west China office in Chengdu City this October, and before the inauguration of KPMG Chengdu office, its rival, Ernst & Young, had already integrated Chengdu into its global operation for several years.

Defense industry

Located within the city limits is the Chengdu Aircraft Company which produces the recently declassified J-10 Vigorous Dragon combat aircraft as well as the JF-17 Thunder, in a joint collaborative effort with Pakistan Air Force. The company is one of the major manufacturers of Chinese Military aviation technology.

Temple in Chengdu


Investment

The Chengdu Statistics Bureau reports that the total investment in fixed assets in 2008 was 301.29 billion yuan (US$43.38 billion). Domestic investment was 180.52 billion yuan (US$26 billion), an increase of 23.5 percent from 2007. The total amount of foreign direct investment reached US$2.25 billion, an increase of 97.3 percent from 2007.

Industrial zones

  • Chengdu Economic & Technological Development Zone
  • Chengdu Export Processing Zone
  • Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
  • Chengdu National Cross-Strait Technology Industry Development Park


Transportation

Chengdu's transportation network is well developed, and Chengdu serves as the starting point for many national highways, with major routes going from Sichuan-Shanxi, Sichuan-Tibet, and Sichuan-Yunnan.

For the year 2007, Chengdu announced the official launch of 37 significant projects, including the Chengdu-Jianyang Expressway in an attempt to accelerate the construction of the experimental district. This project is expected to solve the current transportation problem, which is proved to be the bottleneck in Jianyang's development. Development of major tunnels and the Longquan Lake scenic spot has also been planned to integrate Jianyang better into the Chengdu economic circle.

Several major road projects were also mentioned in the paper: a 15 km tunnel from Shuangliu Taiping to Jianyang Sancha Lake; alteration of the National Expressway 321, from Jiangyang to Longquanyi, totaling 26 kilometers. There will also be a road that connects Longquanmarker Town to Longquan Lake - it will be connected to the Chengdu-Jianyang Expressway and hence shorten the journey by 10 kilometers. The authority has yet to decide whether drivers will have to pay tolls to access the road.

Expressways

By the end of 2008, there are ten expressways, connecting the center of Chengdu to its suburbs. The expressways that will be open to the public by the end of December are the Chenglin Expressway, extensions of Guanghua Avenue, Shawan Line, and an expressway from Chengdu to Heilongtanmarker.

  • The toll-free Chengjin Expressway in the east of Chengdu is 38.7 km long, with six lines and designed for travel at 80 km/h. After it opens to the public, it will take only about half an hour to drive from the downtown Chengdu to Jintang, half the time of the current journey.


  • The expressway between Chengdu to Heilongtan (Chengdu section), going to the south of the city, is 42 km long. It is also toll-free and a journey from downtown Chengdu to Heilongtanmarker will only take half an hour.


  • The extension of Guanghua Avenue, going towards the west of the city, is 11.6 km long with an estimated investment of 300 million yuan. It will cut the journey time from Chongzhoumarker city to Sanhuan Road to less than half an hour.


  • The extension of Shawan Road going north will be 8.8 km long, and is designed for travel at 60 km/h. After it is connected to the expressways Pixian–Dujiangyan and Pixian–Pengzhou, it will take only 30 minutes to go from Chengdu to Pengzhoumarker.




Highway

Chengdu Metro


Public transport

The Chengdu Metro seven line subway system has been planned, and Line 1 is under construction. Chengdu was the site of the June 5th bus fire incident.

Air transport

Chengdu is served by the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airportmarker located 16 km southwest of downtown. It has been the busiest airport in Central and Western China and the 6th busiest airport nationwide, with a total of 17.25 million in terms of passenger traffic in 2008.

The Chengdu Airport has constructed a second runway, capable of landing Airbus 380, the largest commercial airplane to date. The second runway had a trial flight in October 2009 and is expected to be in use soon. Chengdu is the fourth city in China with double commercial runways, after Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. On May 26, 2009, Air China, the Chengdu Government and Sichuan Airport Group signed an agreement to improve the infrastructure of the airport and increase the number of international direct flights to and from Chengdu. The objective is to have a passenger traffic of 40 million by 2015, making Chengdu Airport the fourth international hub in China, after Beijing, Shanghai, and GuangZhou.. There is also a long-term plan to build a second airport in Jintang County with five runways. Upon completion, it will take less than 30 minutes to travel from Jintang to downtown Chengdu.

River transport

Located to the northwest of Chongqingmarker, Chengdu has no direct access to the Yangtzemarker River, or any other larger river. However, to ensure that Chengdu's goods have access to the river efficiently, the port cities of Yibinmarker and Luzhoumarker -- both of which are reachable from Chengdu within hours by expressways—on the Yangtzemarker have commenced large-scale port infrastructure development. As materials and equipment for the rebuilding of northern Sichuan are sent in from the East Coast to Sichuan, these ports will see significant increases in throughput.

Education

Colleges and universities

Sichuan University


Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

International Schools

Chengdu Meishi International School, an IB World School [25825]

Secondary Schools



Consulates

The United Statesmarker Consulate General at Chengdu opened on October 16, 1985. It was the first foreign consulate in west-central China since 1949. Currently seven countries have consulates in Chengdu. The Philippinesmarker and Sri Lankamarker will each open a consulate in Chengdu soon. The United Kingdommarker also has a visa application center in Chengdu.



Consulate Year Consular District
United Statesmarker Consulate General Chengdu 1986 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker/Yunnanmarker/Guizhoumarker/Tibet
Germanymarker Consulate General Chengdu 2003 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker/Yunnanmarker/Guizhoumarker
Republic of Koreamarker Consulate General Chengdu 2004 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker/Yunnanmarker/Guizhoumarker
Thailandmarker Consulate General Chengdu 2004 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker
Francemarker Consulate General Chengdu 2005 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker/Yunnanmarker/Guizhoumarker
Singaporemarker Consulate Chengdu 2006 Sichuanmarker
Pakistanmarker Consulate General Chengdu 2007 Sichuanmarker/Chongqingmarker/Yunnanmarker/Guizhoumarker/Tibet


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

In 1979, Chengdu signed a sister city agreement with Montpelliermarker, Francemarker, the first pair of Sino-French sister cities. Later Chengdu signed sister city agreements with cities in ten countries, as well as signing a friendly region agreement with the Dalarnamarker province in Swedenmarker. Chengdu has had many friendly exchanges with the sister cities. Montpelliermarker, for example, has a Chengdu Street and a Chengdu Plaza. The soccer team Chengdu Blades is owned by Sheffield United F.C.



See also



References

  1. Chengdu's June News | All Roads Lead To China


External links




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