Tongliao is located in the eastern portion of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at the intersection of Inner Mongolia and Jilin and Liaoning Provinces, and has an area of 59,535 km², accounting for 5.4% of Inner Mongolia's total. Its population is 3.1 million. The city is 315 km from Beijing, the capital of China.
Tongliao has a temperate continental climate with a dry, windy spring, a short, rainy summer, a cool autumn and a dry, chilly winter. The average annual temperature is 0-6°C, while the average annual precipitation is 400 mm.
Tongliao is replete with various natural resources. There are 12,500 km² of forest in the surrounding area, accounting for approximately 21% of the city's total land area. Daqing Valley, a national-level nature reserve, is located in Tongliao. Additionally, Tongliao has approximately 41 various mineral resources such as coal, oil, Niobium, tantalum, beryllium, zirconium and other rare metals. Reserves of natural silica sand rank first in China, while reserves of coal and oil amount to 12.1 billion tons and 800 million tons, respectively.
Tongliao has convenient access to transportation. The Tongliao Airport is seated in the southwest on the outskirts of the city, 7 km from the city’s downtown area. It operates flights to Hohhot every two days. Additionally, the Tongliao-Beijing Railway conveniently connects the city with Beijing. State Highway 111, State Highway 303, State Highway 304 and State Highway 204 run through the city and extend to harbor cities such as Tianjin, Dalian, and Qinhuangdao.
|Tongliao realized GDP of RMB 117.62 billion in 2010, representing a rise of 16% year on year. The city's GDP accounted for approximately 13% of Inner Mongolia's total, and ranked fourth in the autonomous region.
In 2010, value-added output of secondary industry (industry and construction) amounted to RMB 68.97 billion, accounting for 58.6% of the city's total.
Tongliao's pillar industries are coal, agricultural products processing, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nonmetallic products and metallugy. These industries realized value-added industrial output of RMB 43.99 billion in 2010, accounting for 69% to the industrial sector's total.
The service sector generated value-added output of RMB30.83 billion, contributing 26.2% of the city's total GDP in 2010. As Tongliao has beautiful scenery, in 2010, 2.72 million tourists visited the city, up 35.4% year on year, and tourism income totaled RMB 5.07 billion, growing 12.9% compared to the same period of last year.
In 2010, the city's total foreign trade amounted to US$174.98million (comprising export value of US$87.19 million and import value of US$87.79 million), representing up 73.3% year on year. The major export goods of the city are alumina, glass, cereal, and beef, while key import goods include iron ore and wood. Japan, Korea and Southeast Asian countries are Tongliao's major trading partners.
Tongliao is one of the fountainheads of the Mongol culture and the birthplace of Hongshan culture and Fuhe culture. In the history of the Tongliao area, minority groups including Eastern Hu people, Xianbei people, Wuhuan people and Khitan people once lived here.
Currently, there are still a lot of different ethnic groups living in Tongliao. Most are Han and Mongol people, who are known for hospitality.
Tongliao also boasts abundant colorful national cultural festivals including the Keerqin Horse Race Festival and the Andai (Dance) Arts Festival.
There are many tourist attractions in Tongliao, including the vast Kerqin grassland and the Kulun desert. Tongliao’s historical and cultural sites include ruins of the Great Wall in the former Yan State, a Great Wall trench built during the Jin Dynasty, the tomb murals painted during the Liao Dynasty, a Pagoda from the Yuan Dynasty, a palace built during the Qing Dynasty.
In Tongliao, the Mongols are the main ethnic group in the city. They mainly consume grains, cheese, milk, meat, as well as milk tea. Roast lamb and Pan Cake are very popular in the city. Special local products include white cashmere from the Hanshan goat, fine Merino sheep wool, Keerqin beef and Kulun buckwheat.