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Zhenjiang is an important commercial and transportation centre in the southwest of Jiangsu province. It neighbours Changzhou to the southeast and Nanjing to the west, while to the north it faces Yangzhou and Taizhou across the Yangtze. At end- 2009 the city had a population of 3.1m, of whom about 1m lived in the city proper.

The city flourished during the Sui dynasty (AD581-617), thanks to the construction of the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou, but went into decline in the first half of the 19th century when the canal lost its importance as a trading waterway. Its fortunes improved once again when it was opened to foreign trade in 1859 and was handed over to Britain as a concession until 1927. Between 1929 and 1949, it was the capital of Jiangsu province.

Zhenjiang’s GDP reached Rmb167.2bn in 2009, a year-on-year increase of 13.7 per cent. The auto parts industry is growing in importance. In 2008 the city had 11 enterprises engaged in the assembly of complete automobiles, and more than 1,000 enterprises producing auto parts and motorcycle parts.

Danyang, a county-level city in Zhenjiang’s administrative area, is Asia’s largest production base for drill bits and diamond saw blades. Danyang is also known for spectacles manufacture, with about 600 firms engaged in their production.

Danyang is Asia’s top production base for man-made board and household furniture materials. The city has focused on developing industries that can benefit from close proximity to water transport, such as chemicals, building materials and paper-making. New industries such as fibre-optics are also being developed.

Leading domestic companies include Gold East Paper, Liancheng Chemicals and Haili Electronics. In 2009 Chi Mei Corp of Taiwan completed construction of a plant that makes chemicals used in making liquid crystal display panels. Zhenjiang-based Jiangsu SOPO (Group) is China’s largest acetic acid producer, with a 30 per cent market share.

BASF Paper Chemicals (Jiangsu) is located in the Dagang area, and it manufactures latex, used to produce a glossy coat on paper, and sizing products, which act as a waterproofing agent. The Switzerland-headquartered specialty chemicals company Clariant opened a surfactants production facility in Zhenjiang. Total Lubricants of France has a plant in Zhenjiang that manufactures passenger car engine oil, diesel engine oil, industrial oil and coolants.

By October 2008 Zhenjiang had five provincial-level development zones − Zhenjiang, Danyang, Yangzhong, Jurong and Dantu – along with two provincial-level industrial parks − Jingkou and Runzhou − and a state-level export processing zone known as Zhenjiang Export Processing Zone. Zhenjiang New Area is the most important of the zones and the one to have attracted the most foreign investment. It was formed in 1998 through a merger of the original Zhenjiang EDZ and Zhenjiang Dagang EDZ. Total, Cargill, Fiat and Asia Pulp and Paper have all invested here.

The Nanjing-Changzhou and Shanghai-Nanjing expressways both pass through Zhenjiang. The 87km expressway to Changzhou forms part of the Shanghai-Luoyang expressway. Zhenjiang is also connected to Liyang by expressway.

The Runyang Yangtze River Bridge connects Zhenjiang with northern Jiangsu – an area less prosperous than the south, but which has significant growth potential. A road bridge that will connect Zhenjiang with Taizhou across the Yangtze is expected to be operation in 2012.

The Beijing-Shanghai railway passes through Zhenjiang, as will the high-speed railway being built between China’s two leading cities. Zhenjiang has no airport. Changzhou airport and Lukou airport in Nanjing are the closest facilities, 50km and 80km away respectively.

Zhenjiang lies in the middle of Jiangsu province, 87km downstream from Nanjing and 279km upstream from the mouth of the Yangtze. With a water depth of 11 metres in the main shipping channel approaching its shore, the port is able to accommodate vessels of 25,000-40,000 dwt all year round.

Zhenjiang Port Group the city’s largest common-user terminal operator, is 56.25 per cent owned by SDIC Communications Co and 43.75 per cent by Zhenjiang Port Co. It is investing Rmb2,800m in expansion projects, one of the largest expansion programmes across the entire length of the river. Iron ore is the major bulk commodity handled by the port either direct from overseas or transhipped via coastal ports such as Ningbo.

According to Zhenjiang maritime authorities, the city has experienced a large increase in the number of international chemical carriers calling at the local port since 2009. This has put great pressure on the maritime safety authorities.

If you want to read more about Zhenjiang, 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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