Suzhou is a prefecture-level city in the northern part of Anhui Province. The city enjoys an ideal geographic location. It lies at the juncture of Jiangsu Province, Anhui Province, Shandong Province and Henan Province. It borders Xuzhou of Jiangsu and Heze of Shandong to the north, Yongcheng of Henan to the west, Suqian of Jiangsu to the east.
The city has abundant coal resources. The proven coal reserves in the city total around 6 billion tons, nearly one fifth of Anhui's total. It is also rich in oil and coal-bed gas resources. The estimated oil reserves in this city exceed 2 billion tons. The proven coal-bed gas reserves amount to 300 billion aquatic meters. The city has Anhui's largest reserve of marble, which exceeds 50 million cubic meters.
It is easily accessible by train, as the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, the Lianyungang-Lanzhou Railway and the Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway go through the city. Xuzhou Guanxin Airport, offering daily flights to Bejing, Shanghai and other large cities, is only 70 km from Suzhou’s city center.
Suzhou enjoys a subtropical monsoon climate, with rich rainfalls and semi-humid weather, which is quite suitable for the growth of vegetables, fruit, and other crops.
|In 2010, the city's GDP grew 13.1% from a year ago to RMB 65.03 billion. The agricultural sector, secondary sector and service sector contributed RMB 18.15 billion, RMB 24.64 billion and RMB 22.24 billion, accounting for 27.9%, 37.9% and 34.2% of the city's GDP, respectively.
Due to its fertile lands and suitable weather, Suzhou is an agricultural base in Anhui Province. In 2010, it produced 3.89 million tons of crops and 33,300 tons cottons, up 2.4% and down 16.4% year on year. The city is a fruit planting base in Anhui. In 2010, it produced 1.62 million tons of fruit, up 11.2% year on year.
The value-added industrial output of the city has increased by 28% to RMB 21.39 billion in 2010.
Coal mining and dressing, agricultural products processing, food manufacturing, wood processing, chemicals, electricity and heat supply are the major industries in the city.
The service sector is the largest contributor to the city's economy. The consumer market is large in Suzhou. Sales of consumer goods rose 19% year on year to RMB 19.39 billion. In 2010, more than 5.4 million tourists have visited the city with the tourism revenue of RMB 2.49 billion.
The foreign trade value in the city reached US$154 million in 2010, with an increase of 83.9%. The export value was up 83.5% year to US$121 million, while the import value increased 85.3% year on year to US$33 million.
The city attracted FDI of US$146 million, a sharp rise of 32.6% from 2010. The utilized FDI was US$134 million, up 39.4% year on year. However, investments from the large multinational companies are still absent.
Suzhou's history began over 5,000 years ago, when the region was settled by the Xuyi and Huaiyi tribes. The city became prosperous during the Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) Dynasties. During the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD), the government set up a prefecture in this area. Suzhou has been the capital of the prefecture since then. Due to its important geographic location, Suzhou often became a battlefield in ancient times, as it did in the Chu Han War between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang during the Han Dynasty. Suzhou is also known as town of fantastic stones.
Suzhou has enriched cultural and historical sites, such as She Gu Stage and Ancient City of Qi County. She Gu Stage was the place from which Chen Sheng and Wu Guang led the peasant's revolution in BC209 during the Qin Dynasty. The city is also rich in natural scenic spots, such as Huangcangyu Nature Reserve and Wuliu Scenic Spot, both of which contain large natural forests, caves, springs and pools.
Suzhou Cuisine belongs to Hui Cuisine, one of the eight most famous cuisines in China. Hui Cuisine is usually lightly spicy and salty. The most representative dishes in Suzhou include Milky Fish (a kind of steaming fish) and Fuli Shao Ji (Fuli crispy chicken or Fuli braised chicken).