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ehainan.gov.cn | Updated: 2023-03-22


A road monument of the political, military and cultural center of Sansha city [Photo/www.sansha.gov.cn]

Sansha is situated to the south of Sanya. To its east are the Philippines, to its west is Vietnam, and to its south are Indonesia and Brunei. Sansha consists of 280 islands, reefs, shoals and cays, with a total land area of 10 square kilometers and an area of about 2 million square kilometers by measurement of its sea area.


Aerial view of the Chenhang Dao in Yongle Qundao, one of the two islands of Xisha Islands. [Photo/www.sansha.gov.cn]

In April 2020, Sansha city established two districts, the Xisha district and Nansha district, following the approval of the State Council. They're Sansha's first two districts in the city's history, and before that, the city has a total of 10 local communities.

Xisha district will administer the Xisha and Zhongsha islands and their surrounding waters, with the district government located on Yongxing Island. Governing Nansha Island and its surrounding waters, Nansha district's government is located on Yongshu Jiao.

Xisha Islands

Xisha Islands lie in the middle of the South China Sea, southeast to the Hainan Island. They consists of 32 islands with a land area of about eight sq km and a sea area of about 500,000 sq km. Yongxing Island is the largest island in the Xisha Islands, with an area of 2.6 sq km.

Zhongsha Islands

The Zhongsha Islands are in the middle of the South China Sea, 200 km from Yongxing Island. Among all islands in the South China Sea, the Zhongsha Islands are the nearest to its middle. Huangyan Island is the only island in Zhongsha Islands that is never submerged. 

Nansha Islands

Nansha Islands are located in the southern area of the South China Sea, with Nanjiao to the north, Zengmu Ansha to the south, Wan'an Tan to the west and Mahai Tan to the east. Situated in the southernmost part of the South China Sea, Nansha Qundao are the largest in terms of both the number of islands and reefs and geographical area, with 230 islands, reefs, shoals, and cays.


Corals in the sea areas of Sansha city [Photo/www.sansha.gov.cn]

Featuring a tropical oceanic monsoon climate, Sansha boasts rich marine resources in the following aspects: 

Plant resources

Islands in Sansha, especially Xisha Islands, have abundant plant resources, with 80 families, 211 genera and 296 species. 283 species among them are resource plants, taking up 95.6 per cent of the total. Most of the resource plants are edible or can be used for medicine. 

Marine biological resources

The sea area of Sansha is known as a "marine forest" or "deep sea plain", due to the abundance of marine life. There are about 2,000 kinds of fish, as well as rare and precious sea products such as pearl oysters, sea snails, abalone, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and lobsters. Wildlife on land is mainly sea birds. 

Sea water and deep sea mineral resources

Sea water in Sansha has a high salinity, with total salt content at over 70 trillion tons. There are broad prospects for developing salt extraction in the area.

The deep sea of Sansha holds abundant reserves of minerals with great extraction value, including such metals as iron, manganese, copper, cobalt, zinc and nonmetal minerals such as zeolite, coral and limestone. The area also has rich reserves in manganese nodules and cobalt-rich crust.

Energy resources

The sea area around Sansha has extremely rich energy resources of numerous types, including wind and solar power, tidal and sea current energy, and other renewable sources, as well as ample sea water chemical energy and gas and oil reserves, giving the area spectacular prospects for industrial development.

Due to their unique geographical conditions, Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands and Nansha Islands enjoy prosperous tourism development potential. Numerous small islands scattered in a broad sea area of 2 million sq km with tropical oceanic monsoon scenery constitute a great potential for tourism development. 

Yongxing Island is the largest of the Xisha Islands and the entire South China Sea islands. It is the political, military and cultural center of Sansha city. The founding of Sansha promoted the construction of production and living facilities including administrative offices, post offices, banks, shops, libraries, hotels, radio and television stations, meteorological stations, marine stations, aquatic stations, hospitals, soilless vegetable greenhouses and leisure and cultural squares on Yongxing Island. Mobile communication signals cover the entire Xisha Islands. Roads, an airport and three ports that can dock 5000-ton vessels have been constructed, making tourism all the easier.