Wuxi city of Jiangsu province is located in the center of the well-developed Yangtze River Delta in eastern China, adjacent to Lake Tai, with the Grand Canal and the Yangtze River as its neighbour, which granted it the name “Pearl of Lake Tai”. The GDP of Wuxi has mounted to 499.2 billion Yuan in 2009.
Premier Wen Jiabao has paid three visits to Wuxi and specifically urged the city to accelerate the construction of an environment-friendly city, a city of tourism and modern service, a city of hi-tech industry, and a livable city. Wuxi has started its historic transformation from a time-honored city to a civilized city with the four characteristics since 2009.
As a well-known city of national history and culture, Wuxi has been honored with such titles as the Important Economic Center of China, City of Brand Economy, Outstanding Ecotourism City of China, National Garden City, National Model City for Environmental Protection, National Forest City, National Eminent City in Civilized City Construction, National Model City for Service Outsourcing, One of the Top 10 Economy-dynamic City in China and One of the Top 10 Most Competitive City in China. Wuxi is considered by authoritative organizations as one of the cities with the best investment environment and development prospects in China, and comes out on top in the list of the best commercial cities in Chinese mainland issued by Forbes for five consecutive years. In 2009, Wuxi is given the title of “Global Green City” by the administrative council of GFHS.
Famous City in the Southern Yangtze
Wuxi has a rich and deep cultural tradition, with the nutritions from Wu Culture thousands of years ago, modern Chinese industrial and commercial culture, entrepreneurship culture in contemporary rural area; and finally formed the specific spirit of "virtue, practice, harmony and endeavour".
Over three thousand years ago, Wu Culture originated here, forming the bright territory of Chinese ancient civilization with the North Central Plains culture and Chu Culture. According to the historical material, Taibo and Zhongyong, the princes of the Zhou Dynasty gave up the throne for three times, came to the Southern Yangtze River Area, a wild place at that time, and settled down at Meili (Meicun Town of Wuxi today) and finally set up their own country Gou Wu. Since then, Wu Culture began to grow and develop in Wuxi till now, which is the origin of Wuxi; the name of the latter also has some bearing on the former. As the historical document goes that Wuxi is known for its rich tin mine in its region, where Qin Shi Huang (the First Emperor in China) had a lot of troops (the relic of "Qin Huang Cove" still remains now) and which was the key place in battles. Then in Han Dynasty, a tourist traveled here finding a stone, engraved with the sentence: if Wuxi has tin, the whole world will fight for it, only when there is no tin, could the world be peaceful. That is where the name of "Wuxi" comes, which means “no tin”.
During the Chunqiu Period (Spring & Autumn Period) and Zhanguo Period (Warring States Period), Fanli, Dafu (the top official in ancient China) of Yue State，secluded himself in the mountain and water area in Wuxi. Under the name of Tao Zhugong, he wrote a book called The Classics on Fish Breeding, made potteries out of mud, traded in silk and fish goods, all of which shaped him as the originator of industrial and commercial business of Wuxi. During the end of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty, as both the store place of grains in Southern Yangtze River and the planting area for mulberry and flax, Wuxi became known as "Rice Market" and "Cloth Dock" with textile folks workshops arising here. In the beginning of 19th century, the national industry and commerce in Wuxi standed out with many businessmen in the fields of powder, cotton mill, filature and machine manufacturing. Exporting its products far to Europe, America and South Pacific, Wuxi's economy ranked top three during its heyday and was reputed as "Shanghai in miniature".
In the 1970s and 1980s, the enterprises run by villages and township emerged and prospected, which not only provided the Southern Jiangsu Province model of solving “Three Agricultural Problems” (problems of agriculture, rural areas and farmers), but contributed a lot to the leading role of Wuxi in regional competition. Till now, Wuxi has always been the top city with the most listed companies. Among the over 40 superior companies, the ones with experiences of running village and township enterprises take up over 2/3.
Wuxi has a long history and has turned out a galaxy of gifted personnel since ancient times. According to the historical material, there are famous officials in Tang Dynasty, farm poet Li Shen, distinguished Anti-Jing hero Li Gang in Song Dynasty, Donglin School members Gu Xiancheng and Gao Panlong, geologist Xu Xiake, ideologists and diplomatist Xue Fucheng in Qing Dynasty, industrial and commercial giants such as Rong Zongjing and Rong Desheng in contemporary society. In present days, gifted figures are more brightening, such as statesmen Qin Bangxian, Wang Kunlun and Lu Dingyi, economists Chen Hansheng, Sun Yefang, Xue Muqiao, masters of languages Qian Zhongshu and Qian Mu, educationists Tang Wenzhi, Gu Yuxiu, Jiang Nanxiang, scientists Zhou Peiyuan, Qian Weichang, painters Xu Beihong, Qian Songyan, Wu Guanzhong, musicians Hua Yanjun (A Bing), Liu Tianhua and so on. There are up to over 80 contemporary academicians of the Chinese Academy and Sciences and Academy of Engineering, the number of which ranks first among similar cities in China.
Being one of the top ten cities in terms of economic aggregate in consecutive years, Wuxi kept its double digit GDP growth despite all unbenefitial factors in face of the 2009 economic crisis. More significantly, such growth were achieved in the race of advanced transition, continuous innovation and construction of high-tech industrial areas.
High-tech industry have been the major investment body in consecutive years in Wuxi. What’s more, the historical break-through made by Wuxi in 2009 is that it grasped the great opportunity of the national development of strategic new industry. Wuxi was granted by the State Council to build up the Innovative National Demonstration Area of Sensor Networks and National Sensor Information Center, which has generated hundreds of corporations working on research & development, production and integration of Sensor Networks. At present, sensor networks,electronic information, new energy, bio-medication, new materials, software and out-sourcing have been considered as the pillar industries in Wuxi high-tech industrial zone. Industrial added value of high-tech industry reached 41.5% share in the city’s industrial added value in 2009.
The soul of the new industries is new talents. Since the year of 2006, Wuxi has introduced 445 overseas returnees’ initiative businesses, which gathered more than 5000 research and development personnels under the brand name of the “530 Plan”. In the later half of 2009, Wuxi first started the “1000 Talents Project” which aims at introducing high-level talents with overseas education and work experience to start their own business; while in February 2010, there are five talents in Wuxi who were enrolled in the national “1000 Talents Project” and 13 talents got into the second batch of people under review for the national “1000 Talents Project”. Both numbers are ranking the first among all cities in Jiangsu Province.
The improvement of new industries lies on the new investment of the research budget of the whole society. There has been a successive of 6 years’s of increase in the share of social research investment in the gross regional production value in Wuxi, while in 2009, the number has reached 2.3% which ranked high in all cities. Furthermore, the target of 2010 is 2.5% which is of the same level as the intermediate developed countries in Europe.
The development of new industries would not have happened without the involvement of foreign investment of finance and talents. On the basis of the 75 Fourtune 500 corporations, Wuxi has obtained more than 3.2 billion US Dollars’ foreign investment in 2009, which created a historical record.
An Ecologically-Blessed Place
Wuxi impresses most people with its “economic card”— taking up over 1.5% of the national economic aggregate with an area of roughly 0.5‰ and a registered population of 4.5‰ of the national total.
With booming economy, Wuxi is now the experimental city for the construction of national ecological civilization. In Wuxi, the construction of an ecological city is given top priority, which is well demonstrated with its achievements: Wuxi became the first “National Forest City within Jiangsu province in 2009, with an average increase of 100,000 mu in afforested area for 6 successive years, and the current forest coverage has reached 35.2%; the afforestation coverage in city, the greening rate and the per capita public green area are 43%, 40% and 13 square meters respectively. The experts from State Forestry Bureau commented that Wuxi has made exploration into the construction of forest city, which is beneficial for plain areas where lack of natural resources is common. Wuxi’s practice could be promoted in economically-developed regions. The increase in afforested area went along with the reduction in the amount of urban pollutants. The total chemical oxygen demand of major pollutant and the sulfur dioxide emission have reduced by 30% compared to the number in 2005. Thanks to the rigid and scientific strategy adopted, the water quality of Lake Tai in Wuxi has been enormously improved and the eutrophication index has been cut down to moderate level.
The emphasis on ecosystem has brought about protection as well as attractive scenery. Now the sky is bluer, the waters cleaner and the landscapes even more fascinating in Wuxi. Around the 36,000-qing Lake Tai, there are the classical scenic spots like the Turtle Head Peninsula, the Li Park, the Plum Garden, the Xihui Park and the Jichang Garden and the open-end relaxation parks—Lake Li New Town Landscapes Complex and the Changguangxi Wetland Park—which are recently set up and boast diversified landscapes.
Right beside the 88-meter high Mountain Giant Buddha is the landscape complex of Ling Shan’s Buddhist recluse, which is rather popular among visitors due to its perfect combination of the eastern and western art treasures and is referred to by experts as a newly-created historical and cultural heritage in the world.
Apart from those scenic sites like Lake Tai, theme parks, gardens in Jiangnan, former residences of celebrities, many new attractions have been built in Wuxi in recently years such as Cultural and Historical Block of Qingming Bridge, Cultural and Historical Block of Huishan’s Ancient Towns, Wuxi Wu Culture Exposition, Hongshan Relics Exposition, Tao Culture Exposition and Agricultural Exposition. Now visitors in Wuxi could enjoy all sorts of entertainment and leisure games like traveling on Lake Tai by yacht, playing beach volleyball, go fishing, visiting film shooting base and pottery making. More exciting recreations available are explorations of the Huaxi Village, Bamboo Forest in Yixing and the site where the butterfly lovers story took place……
A Happy Homeland
The construction of Wuxi --“the city with four characteristics” --started with an “ecological city” to an “livable city”, which best illustrated the significance of “ Better City, Better Life”
To build up the “livable city”, Wuxi has its new path, that is, the construction of the “cities/counties/districts with happiness” .This activity started in 2010, aiming at building up the city with “Six Merits”, namely, “everyone works with a good job, every house enjoys ample income, everything gets sound insurance; every person lives with good health, everywhere enjoys natural environment, and, everyday shows bright sunny mood ”. What’s more, in addition to the 38 objective index regarding people’s livelihood, including employment, household income, social security coverage, doctor-share per 10,000 people,environmental comprehensive index, and the share of household expense on entertainment in household expenses, the “Cities/Counties/Districts with Happiness ” construction evaluation system also covers 40 subjective factors indicating people’s feelings.
Wuxi is on its way of fastening the construction of infrastructure in order to raise its people’s sense of happiness: construction of subway Line 1 which extends 30.7 kilometres has already started and will be completed in the year of 2014; meanwhile, subway Line 2 which runs for 25.38 kilometres will also be started in 2010. As for Wuxi airport, on the basis of the existing lines to Osaka(Japan) and Hong Kong, it will start new international lines to Europe and America in 2010 and launch more domestic lines as well,
In 2009, the urban per capita disposable income in Wuxi exceeded 25,000 Yuan, and the rural per capita disposable income went beyond 12,000 Yuan. Both numbers ranked high in Jiangsu Province.