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Wuhu is a medium-sized city in the southeast of Anhui province, about 96km southwest of Nanjing. It has a downtown population of 1.04m and a total population of 2.29m. The city proper is situated on the southern bank of the Yangtze.

Wuhu is a relatively small city by Chinese standards. Jiuzi Square, built in 2000, is an impressive focal point, while the partially pedestrianised Zhongshan Road is the main commercial area.

Outside the downtown area, Wuhu is split into four major functional areas: an industrial area in the north, a high-tech and education area in the south, a strategic industrial area in the east and a riverside industrial area in the west.

Automobiles and auto spare parts, building materials and electronics are the city’s pillar industries. Wuhu is home to Chery Automotive Co. Founded in 1997, Chery has quickly become a leading national name in the car sector, and it produces a range of models. Chery probably has the strongest R&D capability of any car-maker in China and is one of the most internationally-minded.

Chery’s rapid development in recent years has stimulated the local automotive and auto parts industries. For example, Siemens has a plant that makes automotive instruments, fuel supply units and sensors. Chery has a joint venture making suspension components with Tower Automotive and seats with another US company, Johnson Controls. Air International of Australia has a 70 per cent stake in an auto interiors project in Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Area (WEDA).

GEA of Germany has a 95 per cent stake in a joint venture with Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Situated in WEDA, the plant makes coolers for diesel engines, generators and heat exchangers. Other foreign investors in the city include SKF Sealing Solutions (Wuhu), which makes seals for engines, gearboxes, axles and other automotive applications.

The Fiat company Magneti Marelli manufactures head lamps and rear lamps in the city, for the likes of Chery, PSA/Peugeot-Citroën and Audi. PPG Industrial Group of the US that produces an auto paint plant for Chery.

White goods manufacturers have made Wuhu a production base for home electrical appliances. Wuhu Midea is the production base for the Midea Group’s domestic business. Based in Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Area (WEDA), it employs 5,500 workers. As well as manufacturing air-conditioners, it is involved in logistics and property management. In 2004, Toshiba Carrier, the biggest air-conditioner manufacturer in the world, acquired a 20 per cent stake in Wuhu Midea, a move that helped the company to enter major overseas markets. In the same sector, Hitachi Household Appliances is another leading investor in the city.

The Wuhu-based Anhui Conch Cement is Asia’s largest cement producer, and probably the largest exporter in the world of cement and clinker. It has an export market share of about 10-12 per cent.

Knauf, the German family-owned building materials company, has a US$40m plasterboard facility in Wuhu, its third operation in China. Another German company, GEA, has an air cooling technology plant joint venture with Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

WEDA was established in 1993 as a state-level development zone approved by the State Council. It is situated in the north of the city, about a 15-minute drive from downtown, and covers an area of 56 sq km. There are more than 250 enterprises in WEDA, including 15 Fortune 500 companies, and new construction materials, automobiles and auto parts, and electrical appliances are the major industries.

Famous brands manufactured here include Chery cars, Midea and Hitachi air-conditioners, Star computers, Conch PVC materials, Huaya PVC piping and Knauf plasterboard products. Within WEDA, Wuhu Export Processing Zone has gone into operation, with a first-phase area covering 1.1 sq km of a total planned 3 sq km. Also within the zone, a 1.1 sq km electronics industry park was set up in 2006.

Wuhu Yangtze River Bridge is a double-deck bridge, which carries both road and rail traffic. A low-tower, stayed-cable structure, it has a 312-metre main span, one of the largest of its kind in Asia. An expressway links Hefei, the provincial capital of Anhui, with southeastern coastal areas of the country via the bridge. The expressway, which is on the north bank of the Yangtze, is seen as a significant factor in promoting economic development and the opening up of central and southern Anhui.

Expressways connect Wuhu with Hefei and Xuzhou to the north, Nanjing and Shanghai to the east and Hangzhou and Ningbo to the southeast. High-grade roads along the Yangtze connect the city with Nanchang and Wuhan to the west. It is a four-hour drive to Shanghai, two hours to Hangzhou and one hour to both Nanjing and Hefei.

Wuhu is a rail hub for eastern China, with five main lines passing through it. It has connections to the Beijing-Kowloon and Beijing-Guangzhou lines in the west; the Beijing-Shanghai line in the east; the Lanzhou-Lianyungang line in the north; and the Zhejiang-Jiangxi line in the south. Eastern China’s biggest railway distribution centre, Xiao Yang Cun, is situated in WEDA. The 250km, high-speed Nanjing-Anqing railway will pass through the city when it is completed in 2011.

Wuhu has an airport facility that is shared between military and civilian use. Alternatively, it takes 60-80 minutes to drive to both Nanjing Lukou International Airport and Hefei Luogang Airport.

Wuhu port has the advantage of being in a city that is a natural crossroads; it is intersected by five railway lines and four highways, as well as by the Yangtze.

In 2007, some 40 international ships called at the port, all of them between 10,000 and 15,000 dwt in size. Upstream from Wuhan, shallower draughts mean that only vessels of 5,000 dwt or less can pass, which effectively makes Wuhu the final port on the Yangtze open to ocean-going ships.

Wuhu is the largest port on the Yangtze for coal transport and the largest bulk shipment centre in Anhui. There are bonded warehouses and supervised customs areas within its four major cargo terminals – Yuxikou, Zhujiaqiao, Dixin and Sanshan. Zhujiaqiao also serves as the foreign trade terminal. Both Yuxikou and Zhujiaqiao boast dedicated rail lines, which link the terminals with the Wuhu-Tongling regional and Anhui-Jiangxi national railway networks.

In 2007, the port’s total throughput was 35 46.81m tons, 19 per cent more than 2006. Container activity increased 65 per cent during the period to reach 165,008 teu. By 2010, the port’s total throughput is expected to reach 85m tons and 300,000 teu.

Wuhu Port Storage & Transportation Co is building the first dedicated container quay in Anhui section of the Yangtze at Zhujiaqiao Terminal. It will contain two 5,000 dwt berths, which will have an annual capacity of 100,000 teu. Another project under way is a dedicated coal quay with an annual capacity of 6m tons at Yuxikou Terminal.

If you want to read more about Wuhu, 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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