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Overview

ehainan.gov.cn | Updated: 2021-02-10

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 of Hainan was approximately 9.45 million by the end of 2019, consisting of diverse ethnic groups, including the Han, Li, Zhuang, Miao, and Hui. The urban population in the island province stands at 5.6 million, accounting for 59.23 percent of the total. 

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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. 

In the first three quarters of 2020, the proportion of days with fairly good air quality in Hainan province reached 99.8 percent. In addition, all centralized drinking water sources in urban areas were up to standard.

Hainan province has delineated various border lines such as ecological protection areas, permanent basic farmland, and urban development boundaries, and clarified various land-use indicators.

On June 1, 2020, Chinese authorities released their overall plan for the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, a large-scale plan to transform the entire island province into a free trade port, and making it the largest special economic zone in China. Foreign investment companies in Hainan have kept up the momentum of its rapid growth, so the structure of foreign investment has been further optimized, covering 18 industries incorporating wholesale and retail, leasing and business services, and information transmission, software and information technology services. Foreign-funded enterprises account for the majority of newly-established enterprises in the province.

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

In the first three quarters of 2020, the province's GDP reached 384 billion yuan ($60 billion), up 1.1 percent year-on-year. Over the same period, the province's cumulative GDP growth rate turned from negative to positive, and was 3.7 percentage points faster than the first half of the year and 0.4 percentage points higher than the national rate. The growth rate of fixed asset investment was 7.6 percentage points higher than that of the national total. The growth rate of the total retail sales of consumer goods was 2 percent higher than the national level.

In the third quarter, the province's GDP, service industry and other major economic indicators achieved positive growth. Fixed asset investment increased by 18.3 percent, and total retail sales of consumer goods increased by 17.7 percent, both of which hit their highest rates since 2018. In particular, sales of offshore tax-free goods have maintained a high growth since April.

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

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 become known worldwide for holding major events, including the Boao Forum for Asia, a BRICS summit, the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leader's Meeting, and a Roundtable Conference on China-Africa Cooperation. 

As of now, Hainan has tied sister regions bonds with 39 regions from countries around the world and established a friendly region relationship with the state of Washington in the US. The island province offers a visa-free policy to 59 countries across the world.

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

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