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Zhuhai is a modern city in China’s southern Guangdong province, on the border with Macau.
Transformed into one of China’s first Special Economic Zones in 1980, today the city is known for golf resorts, theme parks and islands off the Pearl River Delta.
Zhuhai is a coastal city in Guangdong Province, China. The name ‘Zhuhai’ means Pearl Sea coming from Zhuhai’s location where the Pearl River flows into the South Sea.
In 1980 Zhuhai was approved as one of China’s 1st five Special Economic Zones due in Zhuhai’s case to its location adjacent to capitalist Macau. Zhuhai promptly became a boom town expanding from 100 000 inhabitants to become a modern city with a 2018 population of 1.9 million people.
Zhuhai is a very popular tourist destination known as the Chinese Riviera. It’s nicknames are the city for lovers and The Hundred Island City (217 according the city’s official website with 147 of them over 500 square metres).
It is one of China’s prettiest, cleanest, greenest cities with a beautiful coastline and wavy palm trees. As well as being voted China’s most livable city Zhuhai has been awarded, “Best Garden City in China”, “The Happiest City in China” and “China’s Excellent Tourism City”.
People enjoy its many open spaces that help give it a low population density.
Despite a small population of 2.4 million relative to the other eight cities in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, Zhuhai had 3.18 million overnight foreign tourist numbers in 2019.
That places Zhuhai 3rd for that metric after Guangzhou and Shenzhen among the PRD cities. Zhuhai plans to extend a tourism industry that focuses on leisure and sight-seeing, and to develop Hengqin into a tourist island targeting leisure travelers from across the globe.
Local authorities promote Zhuhai as an ecotourism destination despite various environmentally destructive projects in the area. Zhuhai is unique in mainland China as a pulsating nightlife holiday destination, of the kind that similarly attracts people to visit such locations in other countries.
The Zhuhai area has been inhabited for 4 000 to 5 000 years since the neolithic age. The locality increased in importance during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties when its island ports became stopovers on the ‘Maritime Silk Road’.
After the Song Dynasty, Xiangshan Town was formed in Shanchang Village where the salt industry was blossoming. Qianshan Fortress was built during the late Ming dynasty, acting as a military department managing affairs with Macao.
The area was a base for imperial forces during the Opium Wars but basically remained a collection of coastal villages with a population of around 100,000.
The outer islands followed on 3 August 1950. Administrative changes led to the area in 1953 being renamed Zhuhai.
The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone was designated in 1979 and approved in August 1980. Zhuhai’s selection as a SEZ was largely due to its location immediately adjacent to capitalist Macau (similar to Shenzhen’s selection being for its position adjacent to Hong Kong). Zhuhai boomed to include nearby areas and is now a modern city with a population of 2.4 million as at 2020.
Located in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai borders Jiangmen to the northwest, Zhongshan to the north, and former Portuguese colony Macau to the south. By sea, former British colony Hong Kong and Shenzhen are just across the bay to the east. The provincial capital Guangzhou is about 150 km to the north.
Zhuhai city inland portions of the terrain from the northwest to Southeast tilt, and diverse topography, with plain (25.5%), hills (58.68%), which has low mountain, tidal flat. Flat terrain, the hills of Linhai, sea area is vast, the hundred islands crouch, have qifengyidan beautiful bay, and the beach. Inland from Lantau Peak, General Hill’s two major mountain ranges and coastal hills, plains. Sanzao island is the largest island, an area of about 78 square kilometers.
Mountain land, hills, plains, terraces, is arranged in a crisscross pattern water network division. Coastal alluvial plain from the Xijiang and Beijiang together into alluvial deposits.