Chinese provinces: Jiangsu - China's second most prosperous province

Updated:Sat, Jul 21, 2012 01:22 AM    Related:Chinese provinces

Chinese provinces

Jiangsu province 江苏 is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in East China. Jiangsu is a region known for its lakes and rivers, such as Taihu Lake, Xuanwu Lake, and Slim West Lake. The ancient Great Channel streches across Jiangsu.


General information

Area: 102,600 square km

Population: 74.38 million (2006)

Capital City: Nanjing

Nationalities: Han (99.6%), Hui (0.2%), and Manchu (0.2%)

GDP : CNY2.56 trillion(2007)

Coastline: 1,000 kilometers long

Average temperature: -2oC to 4oC in January, 26oC to 29oC in July.

Rivers:Yangtze River (6,300 kilometers, third longest river in the world next to the Nile and Amazon), abandoned waterway of the Yellow River; lower reaches of Huaihe River, and Guanhe River.

Lakes: Lake Taihu, and Hongze, Gaoyou, Luoma and Yangcheng Lakes.

Administrative divisions: 21 cities and 54 counties.

Neighboring areas: Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shandong Provinces - Shanghai Municipality.

Major cities: Nanjing, Wuxi, Suzhou, Xuzhou, Lianyungang, Changzhou, Nantong, Zhenjiang.

Jiangsu (simplified Chinese: 江苏;pinyin: Jiāngsū) province belongs to East China. It is located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning (now Nanjing), and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is “苏” (sū), the second character of its name.

Since the inception of economic reforms in 1978, Jiangsu has been a hot spot for economic development, and is now one of China’s most prosperous provinces. The wealth divide between the rich southern regions and the north, however, remains a prominent issue in the province.

Geography of Jiangsu

Jiangsu province is situated in the east of China on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, bordering the Huanghai Sea and covering a coastline of over 1,000 kilometers. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over one thousand kilometers along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through its southern parts.

Climate of Jiangsu

Situated in a transitional zone between temperate zone and subtropical zone, Jiangsu has a temperate climate, moderate rainfall, and four distinct seasons. In most part of the province the average temperature of January, the coldest month, is between 0°C and 4°C (32°F and 39.2°F), while a temperature between -1°C and 2°C (30.2°F and 35.6°F), in Xuzhou district; the average temperature of July, the warmest month, gradually increases southwards from 26°C to 28°C (78.8°F and 82.4°F). The average annual precipitation rises from 800mm to 1,200mm in a northwest-southeast direction. In summer, with the coming of southeast monsoon, Jiangsu has plenty of rain. The precipitation drops less in winter. Jiangsu has plenty of “plum rain” when spring is changing into summer and typhoon rain around summer and autumn.

Economy of Jiangsu

Jiangsu has an extensive irrigation system supporting its agriculture, which is based primarily on rice and wheat, followed by maize and sorghum. Main cash crops include cotton, soybeans, peanuts, rape, sesame, ambary hemp, and tea. Other products include peppermint, spearmint, bamboo, medicinal herbs, apples, pears, peaches, loquats, ginkgo. Silkworms also form an important part of Jiangsu's agriculture, with the Lake Taihu region to the south a major base of silk production in China. Jiangsu is also an important producer of freshwater fish and other aquatic products.

Jiangsu has coal, petroleum, and natural gas deposits, but its most significant mineral products are non-metal minerals such as halite (rock salt), sulfur, phosphorus, and marble. The salt mines of Huaiyin have more than 0.4 trillion tonnes of deposits, one of the greatest collections of deposits in China.

Jiangsu is historically oriented towards light industries such as textiles and food industry. Since 1949, Jiangsu has also developed heavy industries such as chemical industry and construction materials. Jiangsu's important industries include machinery, electronic, chemicals, and automobile . The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping have greatly benefited southern cities, especially Suzhou and Wuxi, which outstrip the provincial capital Nanjing in total output. In the eastern outskirts of Suzhou, Singapore has built the Suzhou Industrial Park, a flagship of PRC-Singapore cooperation and the only industrial park in China that is in its entirety the investment of one single foreign country.

Jiangsu is very wealthy among the provinces of China, with the second highest total GDP, after Guangdong Province. Its GDP per capita was 44,232 yuan in 2009, but geographical disparity is great, and southern cities like Suzhou and Wuxi have GDP per capita around twice the provincial average, making south Jiangsu one of the most prosperous regions in China.

In 2009, Jiangsu's nominal GDP was 3.41 trillion yuan (US$499 billion), making it the second largest GDP of all the provinces and an annual growth rate of 12.4%. Its per capita GDP was 44,232 yuan (US$6,475). In 2009, the share of GDP of Jiangsu's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were 6.4%, 54.1%, and 39.5% respectively.

History of Jiangsu

During the earliest Chinese dynasties, the area in what is now Jiangsu was far removed from the center of Chinese civilization, which was in the northwest Henan; it was home of the Huai Yi (淮夷), an ancient ethnic group. During the Zhou Dynasty more contact was made, and eventually the state of Wu (centered at Gusu, now Suzhou) appeared as a vassal to the Zhou Dynasty in south Jiangsu, one of the many hundreds of states that existed across northern and central China at that time. Near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, Wu became a great power under King Helu of Wu, and was able to defeat in 484 BC the state of Qi, a major power in the north in modern-day Shandong province, and contest for the position of overlord over all states of China. The state of Wu was subjugated in 473 BC by the state of Yue, another state that had emerged to the south in modern-day Zhejiang province. Yue was in turn subjugated by the powerful state of Chu from the west in 333 BC. Eventually the state of Qin swept away all the other states, and established China as a unified nation in 221 BC.

The Ming Dynasty, which was established in 1368 after driving out the Mongols who had occupied China, initially put its capital in Nanjing. Following a coup by Zhu Di (later, the Yongle Emperor), however, the capital was moved to Beijing, far to the north. (The naming of the two cities continue to reflect this: "Nanjing" literally means "southern capital", "Beijing" literally means "northern capital.) The entirety of modern day Jiangsu as well as neighbouring Anhui province kept their special status, however, as territory-governed directly by the central government, and were called Nanzhili (南直隸 "Southern directly-governed").

The Qing Dynasty changed this situation by establishing Nanzhili as Jiangnan province; in 1666 Jiangsu and Anhui were split apart as separate provinces, and Jiangsu was given borders approximately the same as today. With the start of the Western incursion into China in the 1840s, the rich and mercantile south Jiangsu was increasingly exposed to Western influence; Shanghai, originally an unremarkable little town of Jiangsu, quickly developed into a metropolis of trade, banking, and cosmopolitanism, and was split out later as an independent municipality. South Jiangsu also figures strongly in the Taiping Rebellion (1851 – 1864), it started far to the south in Guangdong province, swept through much of South China, and by 1853 had established Nanjing as its capital, renamed as Tianjing (天京 "Heavenly Capital").

The Republic of China was established in 1912, and China was soon torn apart by warlords. Jiangsu changed hands several times, but in April 1927 Chiang Kai-Shek established a government at Nanjing; he was soon able to bring most of China under his control. This was however interrupted by the second Sino-Japanese War, which began full-scale in 1937; on December 13, 1937, Nanjing fell, and the combined atrocities of the occupying Japanese for the next 3 months would come to be known as the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing was the seat of the collaborationist government of East China under Wang Jingwei, and Jiangsu remained under occupation until the end of the war in 1945.

After the war, Nanjing was once again the capital of the Republic of China, though now the Chinese Civil War had broken out between the Kuomintang government and Communist forces, based further north, mostly in Manchuria. The decisive Huaihai Campaign was fought in northern Jiangsu; it resulted in Kuomintang defeat, and the communists were soon able to cross the Yangtze River and take Nanjing. The Kuomintang fled southwards, and eventually ended up in Taipei, from which the Republic of China government continues to administer Taiwan and its neighboring islands, though it also continues to claim (technically, at least) Nanjing as its rightful capital.

After communist takeover, Beijing was made capital of China and Nanjing was demoted to be the provincial capital of Jiangsu. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping initially focused on the south coast of China, in Guangdong province, which soon left Jiangsu behind; starting from the 1990s they were applied more evenly to the rest of China. Suzhou and Wuxi, two southern cities of Jiangsu in close proximity to neighboring Shanghai Municipality, have since become particularly prosperous, being among the top 10 cities in China in gross domestic product and outstripping the provincial capital of Nanjing. The income disparity between north Jiangsu and south Jiangsu however remains large.

Administrative divisions

Jiangsu is divided into thirteen prefecture-level divisions, all prefecture-level cities:

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat

Jiangsu prfc map.png

— Sub-provincial city —

1 Nanjing 南京市 Nánjīng Shì Xuanwu District

— Prefecture-level city —

2 Changzhou 常州市 Chángzhōu Shì Zhonglou District

3 Huai'an 淮安市 Huái'ān Shì Qinghe District

4 Lianyungang 连云港市 Liányúngǎng Shì Xinpu District

5 Nantong 南通市 Nántōng Shì Chongchuan District

6 Suqian 宿迁市 Sùqiān Shì Sucheng District

7 Suzhou 苏州市 Sūzhōu Shì Jinchang District

8 Taizhou 泰州市 Tàizhōu Shì Hailing District

9 Wuxi 无锡市 Wúxī Shì Chong'an District

10 Xuzhou 徐州市 Xúzhōu Shì Yunlong District

11 Yancheng 盐城市 Yánchéng Shì Tinghu District

12 Yangzhou 扬州市 Yángzhōu Shì Guangling District

13 Zhenjiang 镇江市 Zhènjiāng Shì Jingkou District

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Jiangsu

Jiangsu is a region known for its lakes and rivers. There are lots of famous mountains and beautiful waters, such as Zhong Shan, Yuntai Mountain, Hui Mountain, Jin Shan, Jiao Shan, Yu Shan, Lingyan Mountain, Taihu Lake, Xuanwu Lake, and Slim West Lake. This provides good foundation for the construction of gardens. Many famous gardens were built here which attract many tourists to the cities in the province. Visitors may even forget to return when they tour such good places of interest as the historical sites in Nanjing, the capital of six dynasties in history, the classical gardens in Suzhou, Taihu scenery in Wuxi, the ancient city culture in Yanzhou, the remains of the Qing and Tang Dynasties in Xuzhou, the fairyland of sea in Zhenjiang, the caves and bamboo in Yixing, and the ancient Great Channel, which is as famous as the Great Wall.

Jiangsu Local Cuisine

Known as a land of fish and rice in China, Jiangsu Province has a rich variety of ingredients available of cooking. Huaiyang Cuisine characterized by strict selection ingredients, meticulous preparation and proper use of fire is representative of Jiangsu Cuisine. The main dishes are stewed pork meat patties, and broken bone fish’s head, etc. Suzhou, Wuxi and Nanjing are also famous for their local delicacies. There are many restaurants serving local choice food in various parts of Jiangsu. Touring Jiangsu Province, one may both feast his eyes on the scenery and have a good taste of renowned local food.

Jiangsu Culture

The province of Jiangsu was formed in the seventeenth century from the splitting of the defunct and erroneously named Jiangnan Province ("south of the river") into Jiangsu and Anhui. Before then, the northern and southern parts of Jiangsu had less connection than that later. Traditionally, South Jiangsu is referred to as the three more prosperous southern cities including Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou. Their culture (the "Jiangnan" culture shared with Shanghai and Zhejiang) is more southern than the rest and is oftened referred to as the Wu. All the other parts of the province is dominated by the so-called "Jianghuai Culture", which means the culture in the area between the Yangtse River (Jiang) and Huaihe River (Huai), though not all of them lie within the district defined by the term. In history, the term North Jiangsu refers to the cities to the north of the Yangtze River. For cities of Nanjing and Zhenjiang, neither the two terms (North Jiangsu and South Jiangsu) refers to them, because though they are to the south of the River, culturally they are still of the Jianghuai Region. Since about 1998, there is a new classification used frequently by the government and defined by economic means. It groups all the cities to the south of the Yangtse River as South Jiangsu, the cities of Yangzhou, Nantong and Taizhou as Middle Jiangsu, and all the rest as North Jiangsu.

Though the terms of classification are very complex, by cultural means only the very north cities of Xuzhou and Huaian are culturally north Chinese. All the rest areas of the province are culturally south, though the three South Jiangsu cities are more purely southern while the culture in other cities is more a transitional mixture dominated by the southern.

Two main subdivisions of the Chinese language, Mandarin (not Putonghua, the national standard speech based on the Beijing dialect, also commonly called Mandarin) and Wu, are spoken in different parts of Jiangsu. Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over the traditional North Jiangsu, Nanjing and Zhenjiang, while Dialect of Wu is used in South Jiangsu. Mandarin and Wu are not mutually intelligible and the dividing line is sharp and well-defined. (See also Nanjing dialect, Xuzhou dialect, Yangzhou dialect, Suzhou dialect, Wuxi dialect, Changzhou dialect). In addition, Standard Chinese (Putonghua/Mandarin) is also spoken by most people.

Jiangsu is rich in cultural traditions. Kunqu, originating in Kunshan, is one of the most renowned and prestigious forms of Chinese opera. Pingtan, a form of storytelling accompanied by music, is also popular: it can be subdivided into types by origin: Suzhou Pingtan (of Suzhou), Yangzhou Pingtan (of Yangzhou), and Nanjing Pingtan (of Nanjing). Xiju, a form of traditional Chinese opera, is popular in Wuxi, while Huaiju is popular further north, around Yancheng. Jiangsu cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of the cuisine of China.

Suzhou is also famous for its silk, embroidery art, jasmine tea, stone bridges, pagodas, and its classical gardens. Nearby Yixing is famous for its teaware, and Yangzhou is famous for its lacquerware and jadeware. Nanjing's yunjin is a famous form of woven silk, while Wuxi is famous for its peaches.

Since ancient times, south Jiangsu has been famed for its prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting south Jiangsu place names (Suzhou, Yangzhou, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Suzhou (as well as Hangzhou in neighbouring Zhejiang province) has led to the popular saying: 上有天堂,下有蘇杭 (above there is heaven; below there is Suzhou and Hangzhou), a saying that continues to be a source of pride for the people of these two still prosperous cities. Similarly, the prosperity of Yangzhou has led poets to dream of: 腰纏十萬貫,騎鶴下揚州 (with a hundred thousand strings of coins wrapped around the waist, riding a crane down to Yangzhou).

Transportation in Jiangsu

Located in the flourishing and energetic region of Yangtze River Delta, Jiangsu Province has developed a comprehensive transportation network of air, rail, highway and waterway, which extends to all parts of the province as well as the country.


There are nine civil airports throughout the province, respectively located in cities of Nanjing, Wuxi, Suzhou, Changzhou, Nantong, Yancheng, Xuzhou, Lianyungang and Rugao. Every day there are flights to major cities within the country, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guilin, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Nanjing Lukou Airport is an international one, besides its many domestic flights, it also has flights to and from cities including Hong Kong, Macau and Seoul.


Highways in Jiangsu cover all the cities of the province. As for expressways, the most important ones include Huning Expressway (Shanghai-Nanjing), Nanjing-Lianyungang Expressway and Lianyungang-Nantong Expressway. There are abundant bus services to nearby cities and beyond. Every day, there are plenty of buses that depart from major cities like Nanjing, Suzhou, and Wuxi, heading for Shanghai, Hangzhou, Zhouzhuang, and Tongli.

In Nanjing, there are large bridges that cross the Yangtze River, namely the No.1, No.2 and No. 3 Yangtze River Bridges, all used for bus transport. The No.1 Yangtze River Bridge is used for both bus and train transport, and people can also pass the bridge on foot or by bike.


Jiangsu Province boasts a waterway network of lakes, rivers and canals. The most famous water bodies include the Yangtze River, the Grand Canal, as well as about 300 lakes, among which Taihu Lake and Hongze Lake are the most known. There are several beautiful water towns around Suzhou, such as Zhouzhuang and Tongli.

Most of the major cities of Jiangsu have harbors and ports. A short river tour on the lake or canal provides a relaxing experience while enjoying the scenery. There are regular ships from Suzhou and Wuxi to Hangzhou that depart at sunset and arrive at sunrise. In addition, along the Yangtze River, Nanjing sometimes has yachts to Chongqing.




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