Provinces of China: Hainan - China's southernmost island province in South China Sea


China Territory  Updated: Sat, Jul 21, 2012 06:22 AM   By HugChina


Provinces of China,Hainan


Hainan Province 海南 is the smallest and southernmost province of China. Hainan Island is also the second largest island of China after Taiwan. Places of interest include Haikou City and Sanya City which has the most attrative beaches of China.

General information

Area: 33,920 km2

Population: 8.2 million.

Capital: Haikou.

Nationalities: Han (83%) , Li (16%), Miao (0.8%), and Zhuang (0.7%).

GDP (2007): CNY123 billion

Mountains:Wuzi Mountains and Limu Mountains, their main peaks are 1,867 and 1,412 meters above sea level, respectively.

Neighboring countries: the Philippines in the east, Malaysia and Brunei in the south, Indonesia (Natuna Islands) in the southwest, and Vietnam in the west.

Hainan (Chinese: 海南; pinyin: Hǎinán;literal meaning: "South of the Sea") is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Hainan Province has Hainan Island and Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands under its jurisdiction. Its land covers an area of over 34,000 square kilometers with population of 8.2 million people subdividing into the Han, the Li, the Miao, the Hui and other nationalities. Haikou is its provincial capital.

Hainan was administered as part of Guangdong Province until 1988. Since then it has been designated a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and has become a magnet for investment and has developed a large tourist infrastructure.

Geography of Hainan

Hainan Island is located in the South China Sea, separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula to the north by the shallow and narrow Qiongzhou Strait. Hainan Island, also known as Qiong'ai, is the second largest island in China with an area of 32,000 square kilometers and is China's southernmost province. The parallel Wuzhi and Limu Mountains dominate the central area, taking up one third of the whole island. Lowlands surround the mountains except on the southern coast, where precipices meet the South China Sea. The Qiongzhou Strait separates the Hainan Island from the mainland. Over 20 kilometers wide, the Qiongzhou Strait connects the Beibu Bay to the South China Sea.The South China Sea Islands refer to all the islands, shoals, rocks, reefs, and shallows in the South China Sea. They are divided into four groups: Dongsha in the north; Xisha (the Paracel Islands) in the west; Zhongsha in the center, including Huangyan Island; and Nansha (Spratly Islands) in the south, ending at the Zengmu Reef. The territory stretches 1,800 kilometers from north to south and over 900 kilometers from east to west.

There are a total of eight major cities and ten counties on the island with Haikou City on the northern coast the capital. The Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, south of Sanya City, are claimed by the People's Rebublic of China and thus considered to form an administrative district of Hainan by them. Sovereignty of the islands is however disputed. The Paracel Islands are claimed by Vietnam, the People's Republic of China and Republic of China on Taiwan whilst the Spratly Islands are subject to claims by Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Brunei.

Climate of Hainan

It has a tropical monsoon climate with long time summer, high

temperature and abundant rainfall. The tropical climate of Hainan results in very hot summers and frequent heavy rains, including typhoons. In the south of the island, the annual rainfall can be as much as 80 inches. Temperature in Hainan does not change much all year round, but has sharp temperature difference between day and night. It has dry and windy spring, short and hot summer, humid and rainy autumn and dry and warm winter.

Hainan's average temperature is between 22.5 ºC and 25.6 ºC (72.5ºF and 78.08ºF). Annual sunshine hours are 1780-2600 hours. Average annual rainfall ranges from 1500-2500 mm. Its hottest months are July and August with average temperature between 25ºC and 29ºC (77ºF and 84.2ºF) and its coldest months are January and February with average temperature between 16ºC and 24ºC (60.8ºF and 75.2ºF). The best time visiting Hainan is from December to March. During that time, the weather in Hainan is mild and agreeable like late spring and early summer while other places in China are in cold winter.

Economy of Hainan

Hainan's economy is predominantly agricultural, and more than a half of the island's exports are agricultural products. Tourism plays an important part of Hainan's economy, thanks largely to its tropical beaches and lush forests.

Hainan's industrial development largely has been limited to the processing of its mineral and agricultural products, particularly rubber and iron ore. Since the 1950s, machinery, farm equipment, and textiles have been manufactured in the Haikou area for local consumption. A major constraint on industrial expansion has been an inadequate supply of electricity. Much of the island's generating capacity is hydroelectric, and it is subject to seasonal fluctuations in stream and river flows.

Its nominal GDP for 2009 was 164.7 billion yuan (US$24 billion), making it the 4th smallest in all of the PRC and contributes just 0.5% to the entire country's economy. At that time, its GDP per capita was 19,166 yuan (US$2,805).

In December, 2009, the government of China announed that it plans to establish Hainan as an "international tourist destination".

The Boao Forum for Asia (Chinese: 博鳌亚洲论坛) formally inaugurated in February 2001, abbreviated to BFA, is a non-profit organisation that hosts high-level forums for leaders from government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share their vision on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large. BFA is modelled after the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. It has its fixed address in Bo'ao of Hainan, China, although the Secretariat is based in Beijing.

History of Hainan

Hainan Island was once called the Pearl Cliffs (珠崖 Zhūyá), Fine Jade Cliffs (琼崖/瓊崖 Qióngyá), and the Fine Jade Land (瓊州 Qióngzhōu). The latter two names gave rise to the province's abbreviation, Qióng (琼/瓊), referring to the pearls that were once abundant on the north coast of the island.

Hainan first enters written Chinese history in 110 BC, when the Han Dynasty established a military garrison.

At the time of the Song Dynasty (980-1279), Hainan became part of Guangxi Province, and for the first time large numbers of Han Chinese arrived, settling mostly in the north. Under the Yuan Dynasty (1206–1368) the island became an independent province then in 1370 was placed under the administration of Guangdong Province by the ruling Ming Dynasty. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, large numbers of Han Chinese from Fujian and Guangdong began migrating to Hainan, pushing the Li into the highlands in the southern half of the island. In the eighteenth century, the Li rebelled against the government, which responded by bringing in mercenaries from the Miao people regions of Guizhou Province. Many of the Miao settled on the island and their descendants live in the western highlands to this day.

In 1906, the Chinese Republican leader Sun Yat-sen proposed that Hainan should become a separate province although this did not happen until 1988.

On 1 May 1950, under the PRC, the Special Administrative Region became an Administrative Region Office (海南行政区公署), a branch of the Guangdong provincial government. On October 1, 1984, it became the Hainan Administrative Region (海南行政区), with a People's Government, and finally as province separate from Guangdong four years later.

In 1988, when the island was made a separate province, it was designated a Special Economic Zone in an effort to increase investment.

Administrative divisions

Hainan Province uses a slightly different administrative system than the other provinces of China. Most other provinces are divided entirely into prefecture-level divisions, each of which is then divided entirely into county-level divisions. County-level divisions generally do not come directly under the province. In Hainan, nearly all county-level divisions (the four districts excepted) come directly under the province. This method of division is due to Hainan's relatively sparse population of around 8 million people.

In July 2012, a new prefecture-level sub division of Hainan Province was established: Sansha City (literally means three Shas: Xisha, Zhongsha, Nansha) replacing the former administrative Office for Paracels, Spratlys, & Zhongsha Islands. Sansha exercises political sovereignty, both actual and claimed, over three disputed archipelagoes (Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha) in the South China Sea. Nationally, it is the smallest prefecture-level city by both population and land area, the largest by water area, and the southernmost.

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat

— Prefecture-level city —

1 Haikou 海口市 Hǎikǒu Shì Meilan District

2 Sanya 三亚市 Sānyà Shì Sanya

— Sub-prefecture-level city —

3 Wenchang 文昌市 Wénchāng Shì Wenchang

4 Qionghai 琼海市 Qiónghǎi Shì Qionghai

5 Wanning 万宁市 Wànníng Shì Wanning

6 Wuzhishan 五指山市 Wǔzhǐshān Shì Wuzhishan

7 Dongfang 东方市 Dōngfāng Shì Dongfang

8 Danzhou 儋州市 Dānzhōu Shì Danzhou

— County —

9 Lingao 临高县 Língāo Xiàn Lingao

10 Chengmai 澄迈县 Chéngmài Xiàn Chengmai

11 Ding'an 定安县 Dìng'ān Xiàn Ding'an

12 Tunchang 屯昌县 Túnchāng Xiàn Tunchang

— Sub-prefecture-level autonomous county —

13 Changjiang (Li) 昌江黎族自治县 Chāngjiāng Lízú Zìzhìxiàn Changjiang

14 Baisha (Li) 白沙黎族自治县 Báishā Lízú Zìzhìxiàn Baisha

15 Qiongzhong (Li & Miao) 琼中黎族苗族自治县 Qióngzhōng Lízú Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn Qiongzhong

16 Lingshui (Li) 陵水黎族自治县 Língshuǐ Lízú Zìzhìxiàn Lingshui

17 Baoting (Li & Miao) 保亭黎族苗族自治县 Bǎotíng Lízú Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn Baoting

18 Ledong (Li) 乐东黎族自治县 Lèdōng Lízú Zìzhìxiàn Ledong

— Administrative office —

*19 Sansha 三沙市 (Newsly established division in July of 2012 replacing the administrative office for Paracels, Spratlys, & Zhongsha Islands)

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Hainan


Sanya city is located at the southern end of Hainan Island and is an important part of China's foreign trade at the southern borders as well as the political, economic and cultural center in southern Hainan. In accordance with the overall planning of the city, promoting tourism and consequential bringing up the rest of business have been the strategic concepts for the economic development of Sanya City, with the utmost goal of making it an international tropical sea resort tourist city which transcends the turn of the century.

Tianyahaijiao - "the End of the Earth"

Tianyahaijiao means "the end of sky and the corner of the sea" and is a scenic spot located at the southwest seaside of Sanya. The overall plan of the area includes a land area of 10. 4 square kilometers and a sea area of 6 square kilometers.

In ancient China, the Tianyahaijiao was a place especially for exiled criminals during the feudal dynasties, and few of them succeeded in returning to their homes. With so many difficulties and barriers ahead of their lives, the exiles felt when looking out to the sea that they were staring at the edge of the sky and viewing the corner of the sea, as if there were no end to their strife. Roaming in Tianyahaijiao, anyone can see the dreamlike coastal scenery in the fantastic southern atmosphere and soon will be lost in wild and fanciful thoughts: Is there a sea beyond the sea and a sky beyond the sky? Thus, the name of Tianyahaijiao (the Remotest Cape of the Earth) came into being.

The beautiful natural sceneries and stone carvings here are unique and famous in the world. The green water and the blue sky here are of one hue, together with the magical mists, rolling waves, sailing boats, dancing coconut trees, and stone forest form a beautiful poetic picture. There on the beach stands huge rocks on which the Chinese characters of Tianya (the edge of the sky), Haijiao (the corner of the sea), Nantian Yizhu (a pillar stands up in the southern sky), and Haipan Nantian (the sea judges the southern sky) were respectively engraved and have become unique scenic spots in Hainan.


Luhuitou (Turn Round Deer) Park was built in 1984 and is located in the Luhuitou Peninsula at the southern tip of Sanya. It has an area of 110,000 square meters and is composed of five hills, while its south, east, and west sides are surrounded by the sea. The East Hawkskill Turtle Island and the West Hawkskill Turtle Island always catches the eyes of tourists, and the Yulin Bay is at the east end of the park.

Luobi Cave

The famous sculptor Lin Yuhao was invited to create the masterpiece. The height of the statue is 15 meters and it is the largest granite statue on the Island. After a tour of Luhuitou, tourists will find that a kind of deep emotion appears in their hearts, that they do not want to leave. After 10 years hard work, the tourist facilities of the Luhuitou Park are now perfected. Tourists can take a walk on the paths among the trees and flowers or take a rest at the wayside pavillions. Every year, more than 600,000 tourists come to this ideal place for sightseeing.

Dadong Sea

20 kilometers away from Sanya Phoenix International Airport, between the Yulin Harbour and the Sanya urban district, lies the Dadong Sea. The sea is known as China's "Golden Coast", with its beautiful sceneries that are full of attraction. The famous "Donghai Morning Sunlight" is one of the Eight Sights of ancient Yazhou. It's an ideal place for diving and sea bathing with its crystal-clear sea water, soft and white sand, bright sunshine, fresh air, rich woods, wonderful undersea worlds, stange rocks, colourful corals, shells, fish, and seaweeds.

Yalong Bay

Yalong Bay is 20 kilometers southeast of Sanya City and 270 kilometers from Haikou. Its climate is tropical monsoon, and the annual average temperature is 25.5° C.

Yalong Bay is at present a national tourist and holiday resort at the southern end of China. It clearly holds the potential to be a world-class first-rate tropical seaside resort with a rich and unique culture of different nationalities. In view of this, the State Council, on the fourth of October in 1992, approved the establishment of the Yalong Bay National Tourist and Holiday Resort. The tourist area faces the sea at its south like a crescent moon, and hills stand at its east, north, and west sides. The islets in the sea outside the Yalong Bay are really attractive with the Wild-pig Island at the center and the East Islet, the West Islet, the East Reefs, and the West Reefs scattered around.

Xiao Dongtian

The Haishan Spectacle Landscape Tourist Area (formerly called Ao Mountain Daxiao Dongtian) is located at Yazhou Bay, 40 kilometers west from the Sanya urban district. It has been 805 years since Zhou Kang and Mao Kui, the prefectures of the Song Dynasty, often came to pioneer here.

Haishan Spectacle Landscape, meaning the wonder of Hill and Sea, is characterized by its clear sea water, green hills, and pretty rocks, and is known as the best scenic spot ini Zhuya of Ancient China. Along the Yazhou Bay tourists can see sparkling and majestic sea water, thick woods, lush groves in the Ao mountains, and groups of cliffs of exceptionally graceful shape on the shore. The scenery looks like a beautiful archaic scroll of landscape. Many ancient poets composed many wonderful poems about the beautiful scenery.

Folk Villages

Hainan-China's Nationality Village is located in Tong Zha City, also known as the Jadeite City, and is famous for its summer resorts. The city is situated at the southern foot of the Five-Finger Mountain. The Cultural Village is invested by Tong Zha International Recreation Center and is a large complex of cultural landscapes consisting of various estates, architecture, folk customs, and folk arts of various nationalities.

Inside the cultural village are more than 20 different kinds of estates built on the basis of their original landscapes. There are bamboo buildings, boat-shaped houses, and log houses, triple-houses with a court buildings in front, eathern houses, mongolian tents and quadrangles. Visitors can also see other attractions such as a drum-shaped building, a wind and rain bridge, three pagodas, a calendar column, and the Great Wall. All of them are beside different villages, delicately arranged and in perfect harmony with the natual settings.

The Cultural Village also offers different diets of minority nationalities, which are of unique flavour. These include Shanlan wine, Bamboo Rice, Three Brewed Tea, Salted Fish, and Fried milk. As the largest minority nationalities' customs sightseeing area in Hainan, the Cultural Village also owns a four-star hotel and some other complete sets of facilities designed for holidays and recreation.

Hainan Culture

Hainan Island has a long and complex history. The indigenous Li and Miao ethnic peoples each have distinct cultures and customs.

Li people are the original inhabitants of Hainan. They are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Yue tribes of China, who settled on the island more than 3,000 years ago.

The Li ethnic group of China mainly reside in the nine cities and counties in the middle and southern part of Hainan - the cities of Sanya, Wuzhishan and Dongfang, the Li autonomous counties of Baisha, Lingshui, Ledong, Changjiang, and the 'Li and Miao Autonomous Counties of Qiongzhong and Baoting'. Some others live elsewhere on Hainan with other ethnic groups in Danzhou, Wanning, Qionghai and Tunchang.

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