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Anqing, a city with an urban population of 730,000, is situated in the southwestern part of Anhui province, bordering Hubei and Jiangxi. Dabie Mountain lies to the north of the city and the Yangtze to the south. The cities of Chizhou and Tongling are to the east, on the other side of the river, while Jiujiang is to the south.

Between 1760 and 1937, Anqing was the provincial capital of Anhui. It is best known as a city of culture, being the place where both Peking Opera and Huangmei Opera originated. It was also the birthplace of Chen Duxiu, one of the founding fathers of the Chinese Communist Party, Buddhist leader Zhao Puchu and Deng Jiaxuan, a pioneer of China’s nuclear industry.

Anqing is a major producer of cotton, grain and vegetable oil, and is one of the largest producers of freshwater fish on the Yangtze. Its most important industries are petrochemicals, machinery, textiles and construction materials. Copper and iron ore are the area’s principal natural resources.

The birthplace of China’s first steamboat, Anqing has a long history of shipbuilding and ship repair, particularly of medium-sized and small vessels. In an effort to rejuvenate the industry, one of the city’s deputy mayors is spearheading a drive to attract foreign investors to the Westgate Shipbuilding Base.

The birthplace of China’s first steamboat, Anqing has a long history of shipbuilding and ship repair, particularly of medium-sized and small vessels. China Dongfang Shipbuilding is constructing what will be the province’s largest shipbuilding base in Zongyang. The base is designed to accommodate 20,000 dwt ships.

Sinopec Anqing Co is a major petrochemical producer with a base covering an area of 7 sq km in the northwestern outskirts of the city. Its major products include fertiliser, chemical products and acrylic fibres. The Anqing TP Goetze Piston Ring is a joint venture between Anqing Piston Ring, Teikoku Piston Ring of Japan and Federal-Mogul of the US. It is one of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of piston rings in China.

There are 12 investment zones in Anqing, of which the most important is Anqing ETDZ. Officially opened in 1992, the ETDZ is situated in the northern suburbs of the city. Major industries include machinery, automotive components, textiles, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. The number of FIEs and the total of foreign investment in the ETDZ each account for one-third of the city’s total. However, there are still few big-name foreign investors.

Three national highways pass through Anqing: the 105 (Beijing-Zhuhai), the 206 (Yantai-Shantou) and the 318 (which runs all the way from Shanghai to Nielamu in Tibet). An additional five expressways passing through or near the city have recently been built or are under construction.

The Anqing Yangtze Bridge and the Anqing section of the Shanghai-Chengdu Expressway are operational, while the Hefei-Tongling-Huangshan expressway that opened in 2007 has reduced the journey time between Hefei and Huangshan from six hours to three hours. The 161km-long South Yangtze Riverside expressway in Anhui was put into operation in 2008, connecting the province’s most developed cities of Maanshan, Wuhu, Tongling and Anqing. The road, which has halved the journey time from Anqing to Nanjing to two hours, is an important part of the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu expressway.

The Hefei-Jiujiang railway, a branch of the Beijing-Kowloon line, runs through the city. It provides freight and passenger connections to the rest of the country, and connects Anqing with Beijing, Hefei, Nanjing, Suzhou, Guangzhou and Shanghai. The Hefei-Wuhan railway started operations in 2009.

Construction of the Nanjing-Anqing intercity railway started in December 2008. The 257km line will be double-tracked for passenger transportation and will allow speeds of up to 250kph. The Yangtze Railway Bridge that will form a major part of the project is expected to be completed in 2013.

Anqing airport was originally a military facility, but in 1993 the local government allowed it to become a civilian airport. It was subsequently acquired by Hainan Airlines, which changed the name to Tianzhushan Airport, after the famous mountain near the city. Regular services operate to Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen.

Anqing is one of five Category One ports in Anhui and the only one on the northern bank of the river. A series of reefs near Anqing was removed by controlled explosions in 2007. Until this time, they were a significant impediment to shipping.

The state-owned Anqing Port Corporation owns several terminals in the city, including Wulimiao, the major public terminal in its portfolio. The port handles coal, oil, metals, cement, fertiliser and raw chemicals for domestic markets, and timber, fertiliser, machinery, electrical goods, raw chemicals, medical products and fish products for export.

In 2008 the Hong Kong shipping magnate Mr Gui Sihai , who originally came from a suburb of Anqing, agreed to invest in Anqing port via a joint venture in which he took a 55 per cent stake. His shipping company, Hong Kong Yuanhang Shipping, is one of the largest private shipping lines in Hong Kong.

The local government is currently engaged in constructing a large-scale logistics park in the port area. It will provide services such as goods distribution, storage and transportation for the three terminals.

Wulimiao terminal will focus mainly on foreign trade and container handling. By 2010 renovation on the second and third-phase quays and No.18 quay will be completed to bring total capacity to 200,000 TEU. In 2006, the provincial government approved a feasibility study for the first phase of Mawo terminal, a new bulk cargo facility. This terminal will focus on commodities such as coal and cement clinker, and is designed to serve major industrial enterprises such as Anqing Power Plant and Conch Group, the Wuhu-based cement producer, which has a plant in Anqing.

A new terminal is being built in Changfeng county, in the east of Anqing. Apart from bulk goods transferred from Wulimiao terminal, it will handle mainly raw materials and finished goods for companies located in the industrial park, such as construction materials, textiles, auto parts and paper. 

If you want to read more about Anqing, its leading companies, major investment zones, transport network, port infrastructure and the logistics experience of FIEs in the city, click here to order an e-version of the city profile for £15. Alternatively, for information on all the major Yangtze port cities and much else besides, click here to buy Yangtze Transport: Accessing China's Interior for £85.

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