Hangzhou, formerly known as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern china. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2004, its entire administrative division (“shì”, 杭州市) or prefecture had a registered population of 6.4 million people. The Urban agglomeration of the Hangzhou metropolitan area (杭州市区) has a resident population of 3.9319 million as of 2003, of which 2.6367 million are permanent residents. There are 1.91 million residents in the six urban core districts.
A core city of the Yangtze River Delta, its position on the Hangzhou Bay 180 kilometres (110 mi) southwest of Shanghai gives it economic power, and moreover, it has also been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, due in part to its beautiful natural scenery; the city’s West Lake is its most well-known attraction.
Hangzhou was ruled by Republic of China government under the Kuomintang from 1928 to 1949. On May 3, 1949, the People’s Liberation Army entered Hangzhou and the city came under Communist control. After Deng Xiaoping’s reformist policies began in 1978, Hangzhou took advantage of being situated in the Yangtze River Delta to bolster its development. It is now one of China’s most prosperous major cities.
Hangzhou’s economy has rapidly developed since its opening up in 1992. It is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as in light industry, agriculture, textile, It is also considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China.
In 2001, the GDP of the whole city amounts to RMB 156.8 billion which ranks the second among all of the provincial capitals except for Guangzhou. The city has more than tripled GDP in the last eight years, with GDP increasing from RMB ¥156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB ¥509.9 billion in 2009 and GDP per capita increasing from USD 3,025 to USD 10,968.
The city has developed many new industries since, they include medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, household electrical appliances, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals, chemical fibre and food processing.
Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is often known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities. Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still retains its historical and cultural heritage. Today, tourism remains an important factor for Hangzhou’s economy. One of Hangzhou’s most popular sights is West Lake. The lake itself covers an area of 6 km2 (600 hectares) and includes some of Hangzhou’s most notable historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area covering over 50 square kilometres. The area includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills. There are two causeways across the lake.