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Huangshi is located in the southeast of Hubei province, on the south bank of the Yangtze. It is a picturesque city containing many lakes and is surrounded by mountains on three sides, with the Yangtze on the fourth. It has a population of 2.57m, of whom 633,000 live in the city proper, making it the second largest city in Hubei.

Huangshi has abundant reserves of iron ore, gold, copper, coal and limestone and is famous for its smelting industry. It is recognised as the cradle of China’s steel industry, with the country’s first combined iron, steel and coal business created here in the 1880s.

Mining is the city’s most important economic activity, although local iron ore resources are depleting fast. Other pillar industries include special steel, copper and aluminium, along with cement, new construction materials, coal and power. Textiles, chemicals, light industry, machinery, electronics and IT are also important.

City authorities admit that more effort is needed to attract investment in modern industries such as fine chemicals, bio-pharmaceuticals and electronics. Local exports are expected to increase substantially, although geographical limitations on land availability might check the inflow of foreign investment.

Giesecke & Devrient of Germany has a joint venture with Wanda that makes magnetic stripe credit and debit cards for banks. Otherwise, there is a limited foreign presence in Huangshi; most of the big companies here are domestic Chinese ones. Huaxin Cement Co, for example, which is headquartered in the city, is one of China’s top 10 cement producers, with more than 30 branches across Hubei and the rest of the country.

Hubei Mailyard Group is one of the largest and best-known textiles and garment makers in China. Each year it makes around 1.8m Western-style suits, 4.3m ladies’ garments and 23m metres of fabric. The brand is well known in China and Japan and the company has a joint venture with Japan’s Sanwei Co that specialises in making high-quality ladies’ dresses.

Hubei Xinye Steel, formerly known as Daye Iron Works, China’s earliest iron and steel associated enterprise. Its newly constructed seamless tube plant is among the largest of its kind in the world.

Shenzhen-listed Daye Special Steel is 58 per cent owned by Citic Pacific. It is a major domestic manufacturer of special steel products, which are widely used in the auto parts, power equipment and industrial machinery sectors.

Huangshi has 4.7m tons proven reserves of celestite. This mineral, when combined with strontium carbonate, makes strontium, a metallic element used in the manufacture of television picture tubes. A major strontium carbonate facility is being constructed, which upon completion by the end of 2010, will be able to produce 60,000 tons of strontium carbonate and 12,000 tons of sulphur a year.

Established in 1992, Huangshi ETDZ is one of the most important development zones in Hubei. It is situated in Cihu Scenic Area in the central part of the city, about 2km from Huangshi port. It is a centre for high and new technology, and has several sub-zones devoted to the new materials, electronics, biomedicine and military industry sectors.

The Shanghai-Chengdu expressway passes through the northern part of the urban area. The Yichang-Huangshi and Huangmei-Huangshi expressways run through the city, as does the Wuchang-Huangshi-Jiujiang railway, which connects with the Zhejiang-Jiangxi and Beijing-Guangzhou lines. The 70km Wuhuang Expressway is a four-lane road linking Wuhan with Huangshi.

The Daqing-Guangzhou and Hangzhou-Ruili expressways, which are currently being constructed, will both pass through the city (Daqing is in Heilongjiang province and Ruili is in Yunnan).

A new bridge recently built across the Yangtze, known as the Edong Bridge. connects Huangshi with Xishui county of Huanggang city. It is expected to alleviate the already severe traffic build-ups experienced on the existing Huangshi Yangtze Bridge. Another road bridge over the Yangtze River, connecting Qipanzhou in Huangshi and Qichun in Huanggang, is planned.

Construction work began on the Wuhan-Huangshi high-speed railway in March 2009, and is expected to be completed in September 2011. When completed, the 97km railway will cut the journey time from Huangshi to Wuhan from more than one-and-a-half hours to 30 minutes.

The nearest airport is Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, which is about 90 minutes’ drive away.

Huangshi has been a Category One port since 1993, which means that it can be accessed by foreign vessels. Foreign trade-related goods leave Huangshi port via regular service routes to more than 80 countries and regions, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. However, the development of container traffic at the port seems to have been stunted by the presence of its more dynamic neighbours, Wuhan and Jiujiang.

Domestically, the port handles mostly mine construction materials, metals and metal ores, cement and sand, and iron and steel. The state-owned Huangshi Port Group runs major cargo terminals; Xisaishan terminal in the southeast of the city and Huangshi foreign trade terminal are the most important ones. The city’s common user terminals, such as the foreign trade terminal, are situated in the central part of the city. Breakbulk cargo such as cement, coal and iron ore powder has to be transported through the city before reaching the terminal, which causes congestion and pollution in the urban area. Therefore, the government has decided to move the breakbulk cargo business 13km downstream to Qipanzhou, where priority is being given to attracting investment for the construction of a new terminal.

Overall, the port plans to invest Rmb703m between 2006 and 2010 to increase its throughput capacity to 35m tons, of which the container handling capacity will reach 100,000 TEU.

If you want to read more about Huangshi, 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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