Located in the Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar Industrial Corridor, Harbin is the political, economic, scientific, cultural and communications center of Heilongjiang Province, as well as an important industrial base of the nation. Its name is originally a Manchurian word, meaning "a place for drying fishing nets". Harbin received its nickname "The pearl on the swan's neck", because the shape of Heilongjiang resembles a swan. The architecture in the city brings it the name of "Oriental Moscow" or "Oriental Paris". Harbin is also known as "Ice City" for its longest and coldest winter in China. The average temperature in summer is 21.2°C; -16.8°C in winter, and even as cold as -38.1°C - on occasion.
|Economic Features |
|Harbin is the largest economy in Heilongjiang province. In 2010, the city's GDP rose 14% year on year to RMB 366.59 billion. |
In 2010, value-added industrial output of the city amounted to RMB 102.16 billion, up 17.1% year on year. Light industry and heavy industry rose 18.6% and 15.9% year on year to RMB 35.14 billion and RMB 38.07 billion respectively, which accounting for 48% and 52% of the city's industrial sector.
The pillar industries of Harbin are equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food processing and petrochemicals. In 2010, the combined value-added industrial output of the four pillar industries amounted to RMB 61.14 billion, up 14.3% year on year, accounting for 83.5% of the industrial sector's total. Among them, equipment manufacturing has RMB 21.19 billion value-added industrial output.
Service industry has seen stable growth in recent years. In 2010, value-added industrial output of the service industry amounted to RMB 186.86 billion, accounting for 50.9% of the city's GDP. Retail and tourism are the key industries for the service sector. In 2010, sales of consumer goods of the city rose 18.8% to RMB 177 billion. In 2010, more than 41.76 million tourists have visited the city, while the tourism income amounted to RMB 38.15 billion.
In 2010, Harbin's total foreign trade reached US$4.4 billion, up 18.5% from 2009 .Export amounted to US$2 billion while import amounted to US$2.4 billion. Asia, Europe and North America are the major export destinations, accounting for 34.4%, 21.9% and 22% of the total export.
Harbin is one of the major destinations of FDI in Heilongjiang. In 2010 the city's utilized FDI amounted to US$700 million. The foreign investments focus on electronics, food, chemicals, the light industry, energy and real estate.
Harbin was strongly influenced by the culture of Russia. The economy and culture of Harbin grew rapidly at the end of the 19th century, when Russia built the terminus of the Middle East Railway here and later more than 160,000 foreigners from 33 countries migrated to Harbin, promoting the development of a capitalist economy in the city. As a result, Harbin gradually grew into a famous international commercial port and its cityscape was shaped by the mixed people and culture. It is famous for its architecture of Russian or European style.
Due to its long and cold winter, Harbin is also well-known for its winter culture. The "Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival" is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival. It has been held since 1985, including winter activities such as Yabuli Alpine Skiing, winter-swimming in Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.
In Harbin the tourists can enjoy themselves in scenes of variety architecture style. The Central Street, also known as Kitaiskaia St., is a representation of different architectural styles. In the 1.4-km long street there are Baroque and Byzantine façades, little Russian bakeries, French fashion houses, American eateries, and Japanese restaurants. St. Sophia Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church, locates in this central district of Daoli. It took nine years to build this church and it was completed in 1932. It is now a museum to show the multi-cultural architecture of Harbin.
The local people in Harbin have created a very distinctive food culture which reflects Harbin's history and special geographical position, such as the typical foods in Northeast China: dumpling, bread and sausage. However, there is also a complex of eastern and western cuisines under the influence of neighboring Russia, and a number of authentic western food restaurants can be seen there.
Major Development Zones
By the end of 2010, Harbin has two state-level development zones.
GDP in 2010
|Harbin Economic & Technological Development Zone|
|Automobiles and auto parts, medicine, food, electronics, textiles|
|Harbin Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone|
|Optical-mechanical-electrical integration, biology, medicine, electronics and information technology|
|Source: National Development and Reform Commission|
China Top 100 City for investment environment (2006)
-National Bureau of Statistics, PRC
China Top Tourist City (2004)
-National Tourism Administration