Overview

Nantong City is located at the north of the Changjiang River Delta close to the sea and bordering on the Changjiang River and looking over Shanghai through the river. The city has been appraised as “Gate to the Sea and River” and “The First Window on the Changjiang River”, which was one of China's first coastal cities opening to the outside world, covering a land area of 8001 square km with a population of 7,630,000 people. The municipal government has the jurisdiction over 2 counties, 3 cities and 3 districts, and a state-level Nantong Economic and Technological Development Area. Nantong also boasts a long history with longer than 5000 years of civilization history, longer than 1000 years of city history, and longer than 100 years of modernized glorious history. The number one, court scholar in late Qing Dynasty, Zhang Jian, also an industrialist and educator, led the fashion of modernization to make Nantong as the first example of city planning and construction in modern history; in accordance with the advanced concept. Wu Lianyong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and a famous architect and city planner, praised Nantong, as the first city in Chinese modern history.

 

Location

Nantong City is located at the north of the Changjiang River Delta close to the sea and bordering on the Changjiang River and looking over Shanghai through the river. The city has been appraised as “Gate to the Sea and River” and “The First Window on the Changjiang River”, which was one of China's first coastal cities opening to the outside world, covering a land area of 8001 square km with a population of 7,630,000 people.

 

Climate

Nantong has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinct seasons. Winters are chilly and damp, and cold northwesterly winds caused by the Siberian high can force temperatures to fall below freezing at night although snowfall is relatively uncommon. Summers are hot and humid, and downpours or freak thunderstorms often occur. Monthly daily average temperatures range from 3.1 °C (37.6 °F) in January to 27.2 °C (81.0 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 15.33 °C (59.6 °F). With the plum rains in June and early July comes the rainiest part of the year.

 

Economy

Nantong was historically known as an agricultural area and a traditional site for salt-making. Its principal agricultural products include cotton, rice, wheat, fishing, fruit, and more. Currently, the city is making efforts to upgrade its farming sectors and increase production of organic foods.

Today, Nantong is one of many fast-growing coastal cities in China. With the opening of Sutong Bridge in April 2008 and Chonghai Bridge in 2009, the city has been listed as the number one city in the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone for foreign investment, surpassing its rivals Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing.

As a sprawling metropolis, Nantong has experienced environment damage from its industrialization as well. The municipal government has been putting stiffer environmental policies into practice over the years and has spent tremendous amounts of money to curb pollution and plant more trees along its roads. The city is active in shutting down factories that do not meet its environment laws.

Nantong has developed rapidly in the last 25 years, as have most of the cities in the Yangtze River Delta. Nantong's rapid economic growth is generally attributed to its advantageous location just north of Shanghai. Nantong's Sutong Bridge is expected to further Nantong's integration with Shanghai, cutting transportation time between the cities down from three hours to one hour.

 

History & Culture

Because the coast of the East China Sea is constantly expanding eastward as the Yangtze River adds silt to its delta, the distance between Nantong and the seashore is getting longer than it once was in ancient times. From the Han dynasty up until the Tang dynasty, what is now called Nantong was a minor county subordinate to Yangzhou. By 958 AD a city of sufficient importance had developed for a new, independent prefecture called Tongzhou ("Opening Prefecture", possibly from its position near the mouth of the Yangtze) to be created. The increasing wealth of Yangzhou caused Tongzhou to be once again eclipsed as an administrative center in 1368 AD. When Tongzhou finally regained prefecture status in 1724, it was renamed Nantong ("Southern Tong") to avoid confusion with another Tongzhou, located near Beijing.

The prosperity of Nantong has traditionally depended on salt production on the nearby seacoast, rice and cotton agriculture, and especially the production of cotton textiles. A local statesman and industrialist named Zhang Jian founded Nantong's first modern cotton mills in 1899. He then developed an industrial complex that included flour, oil, and silk reeling mills, a distillery, and a machinery shop. He also founded a shipping line and reclaimed saline agricultural land to the east of Nantong for cotton production. Thanks to these efforts, by 1911 Nantong was commonly called "Zhang Jian's Kingdom".

Although the city took a blow from the economic depression of the 1930s, as well as the Japanese occupation of the 1930s and 40s, Nantong has remained an important center for the textile industry. Because of its deep-water harbor and connections to inland navigational canals, it was one of 14 port cities opened to foreign investment in recent Chinese economic reforms.