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Updated: 2019-02-11

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, with ready access to international shipping routes of the South China Sea. It covers a land area of 35,400 square kilometers and administers neighboring Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands, as well as their waters. 

A pleasant tropical maritime climate and matured infrastructure have made 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 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 total population is approximately 9.25 million and consists of diverse ethnic groups, including Han, Li, Zhuang, Miao and Hui. Approximately 23 out of every 100,000 people in Hainan live to a grand old age of over 100. 


Sanya Phoenix Island [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Unique ecological advantages and abundant tourism resources featuring tropical coastal areas, pristine tropical rainforests, geothermal hot springs and rich ethnic customs have been fueling the popularity of Hainan and are turning it into an international hot spot. 

The forest coverage rate in Hainan is 62.1 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 660 species of terrestrial vertebrates, including 37 kinds of amphibians, 104 kinds of reptiles, 344 kinds of birds and 82 varieties of mammals. In addition to the black-crested gibbon – one of the four anthropoid apes living on earth – and Eld's deer (Cervus eldi Hainanus) that are among the rarest species in the world, there are many other treasured animals such as sambar deer (Cervus unicolour), macaque and cloud-leopards on Hainan Island and other islands of the province.

Rich ethnic elements are also a big draw. Li people were the earliest inhabitants to settle in Hainan. Most Li, Miao and Hui people reside in Qiongzhong, Baoting, Baisha, Lingshui, Changjiang, Sanya and Wuzhishan in the central and southern parts of the island, while most of the Han people live in the northeastern and northern part of the island, and coastal areas. They all have helped to shape the island with their distinctive culture and folk customs. 

The island has been known worldwide for holding 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 51 cities and provinces from the five continents and offers a visa-free policy to 59 countries. In addition, folk festivals, sports events, exhibitions and conferences, all help Hainan to shine on the world stage.

In future, Hainan Island will utilize its advantages to push forward the construction of 12 key industries and six industrial parks, as well as five major infrastructure networks. It will set its sights on economic prosperity, social civilization and ecological living, and continue to be an ideal getaway for both domestic and overseas tourists.


Nanshan Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) Statue [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


Wuzhizhou Island [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


Wedding of Li ethnic groups [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]


Location and resources make Hainan a jewel in China's crown. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]