Free trade zone and intl tourist destination

Updated: May 13, 2019 Print
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Name: Hainan

Population: 10,081,232 (2020)

Area: 35,400 square kilometers


Situated at the southernmost tip of China, Hainan island overlooks Guangdong province across the Qiongzhou Strait to its north and Vietnam across the Beibu Bay to its west.


A pleasant tropical maritime climate makes Hainan Island an ideal habitat, especially for seniors or those seeking health benefits. The island knows no winter and has an annual sunshine duration of from 1,750 to 2,650 hours, a yearly average temperature of 23 C to 26 C, and an average annual rainfall of above 1,600 mm.


The forest coverage rate in Hainan is 61.9 percent. Plants grow at a rapid pace over the mountains of Wuzhi, Jianfeng, Bawang, Diaoluo and Limu. The ideal environment also makes Hainan a paradise to over 500 species of terrestrial vertebrates, including 37 kinds of amphibians, 104 kinds of reptiles, 344 kinds of birds and 82 varieties of mammals.


Rich ethnic elements are also a big draw. Li people were the earliest inhabitants of the island. Most Li, Miao and Hui people reside in the central and southern regions, while most of the Han people live in the northeastern and northern part of the island as well as coastal areas. Their distinctive folk customs complement the fascinating culture of Hainan.


At the center of the Asia Pacific economic circle, Hainan Island, part of the southernmost province of China, is not only the largest special economic zone in the country but also a key link on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, enjoying ready access to international shipping routes of the South China Sea. With its dynamic and vibrant economic developments, especially the gradual exploration of the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone and a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, Hainan has attracted investors from all around the world.

According to the government work report delivered to the provincial people's congress on January 27, Hainan's GDP reached 483.2 billion yuan ($71.6 b) in 2018, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier. The 5.8-percent growth rate failed to meet the 7-percent target Hainan set for last year.

But it fell well within expectations after the local government "took a decisive move" to tame the overheating real estate sector. The province's property investment dropped by 16.5 percent in 2018, and the square meters of houses sold saw a decline of 37.5 percent, according to the Hainan's statistics bureau.

The province's foreign trade volume last year increased by 20.8 percent, and its actual use of foreign capital surged by 112.7 percent, both higher than the national average. Despite the slowdown in 2018, the tropical province targets a GDP growth of 7-7.5 percent in 2019.

Administrative divisions

The province governs Xisha (Paracel), Nansha (Spratly) and Zhongsha islands, as well as their surrounding maritime areas. The subdivisions are four prefecture-level cities - Haikou (provincial capital), Sanya, Sansa, Danzhou, five county-level cities - Wuzhishan, Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Dongfang, four counties and six Li autonomous counties.

International ties

The island has been well known for hosting grand events, including the Boao Forum, a BRICS Summit, the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leader's Meeting, and a Roundtable Conference on China-Africa Cooperation. Hainan has established strong relationships with 56 cities and provinces from the five continents and offers a visa-free policy to 59 countries.

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