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Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province, and has an urban population of 5.2m. It is situated in the southwest of the province, about 300km west of Shanghai. The city’s name means ‘southern capital’ and it was the capital of China for 10 dynasties starting with the Eastern Wu (229-280AD), and again during the Republican period of the early 20th century. It is a pleasant city with many scenic spots, which make it a popular tourist destination. However, its recent history is dark. In 1937, occupying Japanese forces killed an estimated 300,000 people and raped thousands of women in a notorious attack known as the Nanjing Massacre.

The well-educated labour force turned out by Nanjing’s many universities and colleges is one factor that makes it an attractive alternative to Shanghai for investors. However, the sheer number of investments in the city can make recruiting and retaining qualified and experienced staff a problem for FIEs, especially if they are located some distance from downtown.

The city has a reputation among Chinese as a tough place to do business. Non-locals say that Nanjing natives are generally very proud of their historical heritage and do not like to compromise in business negotiations. They also have a reputation for not very readily taking negative comments. Grand and modern as the city looks, many foreigners feel that it is a rather conservative place compared with, say, Shanghai. The presence of an army base in the city contributes to a somewhat restrictive feel.

Nanjing has become a thriving centre for the petroleum, chemicals, electronics, auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals industries. Nanjing Automobile, Nanjing Panda and Nanjing Iron & Steel United are all famous national names. Service industries such as banking and finance and computer software are also important, accounting for around half of economic activity.

The city has recorded strong economic growth in recent years. In 2007, its GDP was Rmb327.5bn, an increase of 15.6 per cent over 2006. Average GDP per capita reached the equivalent of Rmb44,900 at the end of the year. This was one of the highest levels in Jiangsu province, although still some way behind cities such as Suzhou and Wuxi. Foreign trade totalled US$20.5bn in 2007, an increase of 18 per cent year-on-year.

At the end of 2007 the city was home to some 4,150 FIEs. Generally, they enjoy strong local government support, and the overall infrastructure is good.

Prominent foreign companies in Nanjing include Atlas Copco, Ericsson, BP, Air Products, Dystar, Air Liquide and Fiat. Motorola, General Mills, Siemens, PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark, Ashland Chemical and LG Electronics also have a presence. BASF and Sinopec operate a plant whose main product is ethylene, with an output of 600,000 tonnes a year. It is one of the largest Sino-German joint ventures in China, employing some 1,500 workers.

Nanjing is a major hub for rail and expressway connections. Jiangsu’s railway network is one of the best developed in China, and the line running between Nanjing and Shanghai is one of the busiest. The transport infrastructure in and around Nanjing is praised by a large number of investors, although a relative lack of international air connections is a drawback.

In recent years, Nanjing has led the way in port development on the Yangtze. In 1978, for example, when a dedicated crude oil terminal opened for business, it became the largest inland oil-handling port. Six years later, it built Xingshengwei Terminal, then the largest inland terminal dedicated to foreign trade. In 1987 the city set up a Sino-American joint venture, Nanjing International Container Co, which was the first specialised container terminal at any inland port in China.

Today, the port is best known for its container business, being one of the only two ports on the Yangtze to surpass an annual throughput of 1m teu, in 2007. It is also China’s largest inland oil transhipment centre, and an important transport hub for coal.

If you want to read more about Nanjing, 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 2008 for £85.
A 320-ton Oschatz boiler being loaded onto a vessel at Nanjing port, September 2009, destined for Saudi Arabia
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