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Tongling, whose name means ‘copper hill’, is situated on the southeast bank of the Yangtze at the foot of the Southern Anhui Mountains. It is 80km west of Wuhu and 90km east of Anqing, and has a population of 720,000, of whom 390,000 live in the urban area. It is regarded as the northern gateway to Anhui’s two famous mountains, Yellow Mountain and Jiuhua Mountain. Due to its large copper and tin deposits, the city has for centuries been an important centre for bronze production.

Today, it remains very much an industrial centre, and the road into the city from Anqing is lined with manufacturing plants. The city’s industrial base revolves around its copper mines and copper processing industries. Other important minerals found in the area include iron, coal, limestone, gold, silver and tin. The metallurgy, chemicals, textiles, building materials, electronics, machinery and food processing industries are also important. Tongling is one of the country’s four major production centres for phosphoric acid and sulphuric acid. The area surrounding the city is rich agriculturally, producing rice, wheat, cotton, beans, garlic, herbal medicines and ginger. Large quantities of fish are also harvested in the region.

City officials want to attract investment that completes industrial chains in the copper, chemicals and construction materials sectors. The pillar industry of copper, in particular, faces the problem of declining stocks of raw materials, and local companies are being encouraged to seek more foreign partnerships in areas such as mining and smelting.

Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group is a unit of Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings. Listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the holding company is a major state-owned producer of copper, sulphuric acid and other products. It operates a joint venture with Sumitomo Metal Mining of Japan and Pingguo Aluminum.

Tongling Chemical Industries Group, set up in 1991, has grown to become one of the largest chemicals companies in China, specialising in the production of phosphoric and sulphuric acid. It employs some 8,000 workers.

Headquartered in Wuhu, Anhui Conch Corp is a major domestic cement producer. The company’s plant in Tongling was the first in China to achieve an annual cement clinker output capacity of more than 10m tons. Its annual output capacity of cement has reached 2.4m tons, making it one of the biggest cement producers worldwide.

German chemicals group Lanxess operates a rubber antioxidants joint venture in Tongling ETDZ with local companies Tongfeng Electronics and Tongling Xinda. The material, which is used to protect rubber compounds, is widely employed in tyre and shoe manufacturing.

Tongfeng has another joint venture with SKC, a South Korean manufacturer of polyester film. This company, named Tongai Electronic Materials Co, is capable of producing 26m tons of polyester film a year.

BYK Chemie, owned by the speciality chemicals company Altana of Germany, operates a wholly-owned plant in Tongling ETDZ that makes paint and plastics additives. It has a capacity of some 2,500 tonnes and employs about 70 workers. Altana also has an insulating materials plant in the city, known as Tongling Siva.

Located in the north of the city, Tongling ETDZ is a provincial-level development zone that covers an area of 13.2 sq km. More than 40 foreign-invested enterprises have been established here, and are active in areas such as copper processing, chemicals and electronics.

Tongling was the site of Anhui’s first highway bridge across the Yangtze. Still in operation today, it is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, boasting a span of 2.6km. Another bridge across the Yangtze is currently being built, which will serve both highway and railway traffic. The new bridge will form part of the Lujiang-Tongling railway, which is expected to be completed by 2010.

There are direct daily rail passenger services between Tongling and Shanghai and Hangzhou. Construction of the Tongling-Jiujiang Railway is scheduled to be completed by 2009. The 250km high-speed railway that is being built between Nanjing and Anqing will pass through Tongling.

Expressways connect Tongling with Xuzhou, Hefei and Huangshan. Tongling has no airport of its own. It takes about two hours to reach the airports at Hefei and Nanjing.

Situated downstream from Chizhou and upstream of Wuhu, Tongling is one of five Category One ports in Anhui province. It serves a hinterland in northern and southern Anhui, while the highway bridge gives it further reach into Hubei province and parts of Guizhou. With a similar total throughput to that of Anqing, Tongling is Anhui’s leading port for export-oriented cargo.

The state-owned Tongling Port Group is the largest common user port operator in the city. It handles almost all the city’s foreign trade and container business. Its two major cargo terminals are Henggang Terminal and the Foreign Trade Terminal. Over the years, Tongling has established itself as a specialist port for non-metal ores, both for domestic trade and for export. In addition, it handles coal, metal, cement and mine construction materials for domestic markets, along with chemicals and finished products, fertilisers, pesticides and non-ferrous metals for foreign trade. More than 1m tons each of cement, fine copper sand, coal, sand, phosphorite and fine sulphur sand are handled annually by the port.

The local government authority predicts that throughput at Tongling port will reach 45m tons by 2010. To cope with this rapid growth, the city plans to invest about Rmb1bn between 2006 and 2010 in port renovation and expansion projects.

If you want to read more about Tongling, 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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