Harbin is a sub-provincial city and the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China, as well as the second largest city by urban population and largest city by metropolitan population in Northeast China. It is located on the south bank of the Sungari River. The site of the city is generally level to undulating, except near the river itself, where low bluffs lead down to the floodplain in places; low-lying areas are subject to flooding. Harbin has direct jurisdiction over nine metropolitan districts, two county-level cities and seven counties, and is the eighth most populous Chinese city according to the 2010 census, the built-up area had 5,282,093 inhabitants, while the total metropolitan population was up to 10,635,971. Harbin serves as a key political, economic, scientific, cultural and communications hub in Northeast China, as well as an important industrial base of the nation.Harbin, whose name was originally a Manchu word meaning “a place for drying fishing nets”, grew from a small rural settlement on the Songhua River to become one of the largest cities in Northeast China. Founded in 1898 with the coming of the Chinese Eastern Railway, the city first prospered as a region inhabited by an overwhelming majority of immigrants from the Russian Empire.With its often harsh winters, Harbin is heralded as the Ice City for its well-known winter tourism and recreations. Besides being well known for its historical Russian legacy, the city serves as an important gateway in Sino-Russian trade today. In the 1920s, the city was considered China's fashion capital since new designs from Paris and Moscow reached here first before arriving in Shanghai.
Data and Facts
- Human settlement in the Harbin area dates from at least 2200 BC during the late Stone Age
- Harbin Is the World's Coldest Metropolis. In lists of coldest cities, Harbin often makes it into the top 5 coldest cities in the world
- Harbin's annual International Ice and Snow Festival ranks #1 in the world
- The population of Harbin is 10,636,000 (2010)
- Harbin became a Russian town in 1895 to serve the construction of a Russian-financed railway. This is evident from the fact that Russian food is available everywhere
- The Harbin Siberian Tiger Park is China's second largest Siberian tiger/wild cat safari park. Almost a thousand tigers are housed there
- Temperatures are so unusually cold in Harbin that it can damage electronics especially when the temperatures drop when the sun goes down
The sub-provincial city of Harbin has direct jurisdiction over 9 districts, 2 county-level cities and 7 counties. The urban area of Harbin mainly includes Daoli district, Nangang district, Daowai district, Xiangfang district, Songbei district, and the suburb includes Pingfang district, Hulan district, Shuangcheng district and Acheng district. Among these districts, Daoli, Daowai, Nangang and Xiangfang are in the old area of the city.
Daoli district is located in the central place of Harbin, bordering on Songhua River. It is the main area of Harbin for commerce, finance and tourism, covering an area of 479.2 k㎡, among which the urban area is 22.6 k㎡. Daoli district has 4 towns, 1 township, and 18 sub district offices under its administration, and its population is 700,000.
Nangang district is the political and cultural center of Heilongjiang Province and Harbin. It covers an area of 182.9 k㎡, among which the urban area is 60 k㎡. Nangang district has 1 town, 1 township, and 18 sub district offices under its administration, and its population is 1,046,000.
Daowai district is located on the southern side of Songhua River in Harbin. It is an important commercial zone of Harbin. Historically, it used to be the opening of an old area. It covers an area of 256.6 km2, among which the urban area is 40.63 km2. Daowai district has 3 towns, 1 township, and 23 subdistict offices under its administration, and its population is 687,000.
Xiangfang district is the main scientific technological and industrial zone of Harbin. Songbei district has 5 towns and 2 sub district offices under its administration, and its population is 205,000.
Hulan district is located in the north of Harbin, and it is one of the five towns exploited early in Heilongjiang Province, with a history of 271 years. In 2003, the county was removed to establish the district. The whole district covers an area of 2,197 km2. Hulan district has 3 townships and 10 towns under its administration, and its population is 622,000.
Acheng district is on the Achi River, 23km southeast of Harbin. It is the early capital of the Qing dynasty. Acheng district covers an area of 2,814 k㎡, among which the urban area is 56.54 k㎡. Acheng district has 6 towns and 4 townships, 108 administrative villages, and 9 sub district offices under its administration, and its population is 583,000.
Shuangcheng district is located in the southwest of Harbin, and in the middle part of Songnen plain. It is an important district of Harbin city, with a developed agricultural economy. The whole district covers an area of 3,112.3k㎡. Shuangcheng district has 9 towns, 15 townships and 246 administrative villages under its administration, and its population is 813,000.
The two county-level cities are Shangzhi city and Wuchang city. Shangzhi city is named after Zhao Shang Zhi, an anti-Japanese hero. The Wuguo Town is the place where Songhuizong and Songqinzong «looked at the sky from the bottom of a well». The whole County covers an area of 4,616 k㎡. Yilan County has 6 towns, 3 townships and 132 administrative villages under its administration, and its population is 401,000.
Fangzheng county is situated in the east of Harbin, on the northwest foot of Zhangguangcai ridge, and on the south side of the middle reach of Songhua River. It is the home of Chinese Selenium-Rich Rice. Therefore, it enjoys the beautiful reputation of «small region of the Yangtze River in the north of the Great Wall, the home of rice and fish in Heilongjiang». The whole county covers an area of more than 3,000 k㎡. Fangzheng County has 3 towns, 5 townships and 67 administrative villages under its administration, and its population is 221,000.
Binxian county is situated on the southern side of the Songhua River, and at the conjunction of Zhangguangcai Ridge and Songjiang Plain. It is the satellite city of Harbin, with an advanced economy. Binxian County has 12 towns, 5 townships and 143 administrative villages under its administration, and its population is 620,000.
Bayan county is situated on the northern side of the middle reach of the Songhua River, and in the backland of Songnen Plain. It is the birthplace of the Jurchen, and its agriculture is advanced. The whole county covers an area of 3,137.7 km2. Bayan county has 10 towns, 8 townships and 116 administrative villages under its administration, and its population is 697,000.
Harbin has the largest economy in Heilongjiang provinceIn 2013, Harbin's GDP totaled RMB501.08 billion, an increase of 8.9 percent over the previous year. The proportion of the three industries to the aggregate of GDP was 11.1:36.1:52.8 in 2012. The total value for imports and exports by the end of 2012 was US$5,330 million. In 2012, the working population reached 3.147 million. In 2015, Harbin had a GDP of RMB 575.12 billion.
The chernozem soil in Harbin, called «black earth» is one of the most nutrient rich in all of China, making it valuable for cultivating food and textile-related crops. Harbin also has industries such as light industry, textile, medicine, food, aircraft, automobile, metallurgy, electronics, building materials, and chemicals which help to form a fairly comprehensive industrial system. Several major corporations are based in the city. Harbin Electric Company Limited, Harbin Aircraft Industry Group and Northeast Light Alloy Processing Factory are some of key enterprises. Power manufacturing is a main industry in Harbin; hydro and thermal power equipment manufactured here makes up one-third of the total installed capacity in China. According to Platts, in 2009-10 Harbin Electric was the second largest manufacturer of steam turbines by worldwide market share, tying Dongfang Electric and slightly behind Shanghai Electric.
Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, which mainly focus on research, development, manufacture and sale of medical products, is China's second-biggest pharmaceutical company by market value. The latter ranks 4th by competitiveness among Chinese city commercial banks in 2011. In commerce, there is Qiulin Group, which owns Harbin's largest department store.
Songbei Economic Development Zone is located in Songbei District of Harbin. The zone has a planned area of 5.53 square kilometers. Electronics assembly & manufacturing, food and beverage processing are the encouraged industries in the zone.Many regional and provincial headquarters of large enterprises such as the China Datang Corporation, China Netcom and China Telecom have joined in this district, preliminary constituting the economy concentration zone of the local headquarters. Regional Scientific research centers including Harbin Science and Technology Innovation Center and Harbin International Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Center are also located in this development zone.
Foreign investors seem upbeat about the city. Harbin International Trade and Economic Fair has been held annually since 1990. This investment and trade fair cumulatively attracting more than 1.9 million exhibitors and visitors from more than 80 countries and regions to attend, resulting over US$100 billion contract volume concluded according to the statistics of 2013.Harbin is among major destinations of FDI in Northeast China,with utilized FDI totaling US$980 million in 2013.After the 18th regular meeting between Sino-Russian Prime Ministers between Li Keqiang and Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev in October 2013, two sides come to make an agreement that the Harbin International Trade and Economic Fair will be renamed «China-Russia EXPO» and be co-sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Heilongjiang Provincial government, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Russia's Ministry of Trade and Industry.
There are also factories producing tobacco products, leather goods, and soap. Industries developed after 1950 include the production of machine tools, mining and metallurgical equipment, agricultural equipment, plastics, and electric power turbines, boilers, and generators. The city is also the outfitting centre for the Daqing oil fields to the northwest. The surrounding agricultural region supports the cultivation of wheat, soybeans, sugar beets, corn , flax, and kaoliang . Harbin is a shipping centre for agricultural and forest products sent to the rest of China. A trade fair held annually in the city has greatly promoted Sino-Russian business relations, as well as trade between China and countries in eastern Europe.
The city layout is centred on the main railway station, which is located somewhat away from the river. The rail lines radiating from it roughly form three districts: Daoli , Daowai , and Nangang . More recently, urban development has spread north of the river. Much of the foreign-developed city has disappeared since 1950, although the city has maintained a Russian air and its nickname “Eastern Moscow.” However, many of the Russian-built or Russian-influenced buildings have been replaced with contemporary ferroconcrete structures; a notable exception is the well-preserved St. Sophia Church in the Daoli district, the largest and most spectacular of several Russian Orthodox churches in the city.
Harbin is notable for its combination of Chinese and European architecture styles. Many Russian and other European style buildings are protected by the government. The architecture in Harbin gives it the nicknames of “Oriental Moscow” and “Oriental Paris” in China.Central Street, one of the main business streets in Harbin, is a remnant of the bustling international business activities at the turn of the 20th century. First built in 1898, The 1.4 km long street is now a veritable museum of European architectural styles: Baroque and Byzantine façades, little Russian bakeries and French fashion houses, as well as non European architectural styles: American eateries, and Japanese restaurants.Harbin Grand Theatre is located in the cultural center of Songbei District, Harbin. Visitors are able to overlook the surrounding wetland and enjoy the unique natural wetland scenery of Harbin.
After the completion of the Harbin Grand Theatre, the public can enjoy opera, symphony, ballet and drama performances in various function rooms.
Located at the junction of the “T-style” mainline system, Harbin is an important railway hub of the Northeast China Region. Harbin Railway Bureau is the first Railway Bureau established by the People's Republic of China Government, of which the railway density is the highest in China. Five conventional rail lines radiate from Harbin to: Beijing , Suifenhe , Manzhouli , Beian and Lalin . In addition, Harbin has a high-speed rail line linking Dalian, Northeast China's southernmost seaport. In 2009, construction began on the new Harbin West Railway Station with 18 platforms, located on the southwestern part of the city. In December 2012, the station was opened, as China unveiled its first high-speed rail running through regions with extremely low winter temperatures. with scheduled runs from Harbin to Dalian.The weather-proof CRH380B bullet trains serving the line can accommodate temperatures from minus 40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius above zero.
China's most northerly high-speed railway, Harbin–Qiqihar Intercity Railway, opened for revenue service on 17 August 2015. The rail links three largest principal cities in Heilongjiang including Harbin, Daqing and Qiqihar. Harbin–Jiamusi and Harbin–Mudanjiang Intercity railways both opened for public service in 2018, conneting the provincial capital to major prefectural level cities Mudanjiang and Jiamusi.
Harbin Taiping International Airport, which is 35 kilometres away from the urban area of Harbin, is the second largest international airport in Northeast China. The technical level of the flight district is 4E, which allows all kinds of large and medium civil aircraft. There are flights to over thirty large cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Qingdao, Wenzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Dalian, Xi'an and Hong Kong. In addition there are also scheduled international flights between Harbin and Russia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. In June 2015, The first LCC international air routes to Japan, specifically the city of Nagoya was to begin.
Because of the freight capability limitation, construction of the T2 Terminal began on 31 October 2014. The 160,000-square-meter T2 Terminal was scheduled to be finished in 2017, and will increase the freight capacity of the airport to three times the previous.
Construction of Harbin Metro started on 5 December 2006. The total investment for the first phase of Line 1 is RMB5.89 billion. Twenty stations were planned to be set on this 17.73 km long line starting from Harbin East Railway Station to the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in the west of the city. A metro depot, a command centre and two transformer substations will be built along the line. Most of the line's route follows the air defence evacuation tunnel left from the «7381» Project which started in 1973 and ended in 1979.
The city is home to numerous institutions of higher education, including the prestigious Harbin Institute of Technology and several research institutes. An annual winter festival features an ice-carving competition and is a popular tourist draw. Harbin also hosts a music festival each summer.
Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone is one of the 90 national economic development zones of China. It was set up in June 1991, and was approved by the State Council as a national development zone in April 1993. In December 2012, Harbin High Technology Development Zone was merged into HETDZ. The area now has a total area of 18.5 square-kilometers in the centralized parks, subdivided into Nangang and Haping Road Centralized Parks. The 12.2 square-kilometers Yingbin Road Hi-tech Centralized Park, which was formerly part of HETDZ, is currently under the administration of Harbin High and New Technology Industry Development Zone since 2009.
Nangang Centralized Park: Designated for the incubation of high-tech projects and research and development base of enterprises as well as tertiary industries such as finance, insurance, services, catering, tourism, culture, recreation and entertainment, where the headquarters of large famous companies and their branches in Harbin are located.
Haping Road Centralized Park: Designated for a comprehensive industrial basis for the investment projects of automobile and automobile parts manufacturing, medicines, foodstuffs, electronics, textile; Automobile production and assembly raw material processing are the encouraged industries in this region.
Harbin High and New Technology Industry Development Zone :Harbin High and New Technology Industry Development Zone is one of the 56 national High and New Technology Industry Development Zones of China. The zone was first set up as a provincial level development zone in 1988, and was approved by the State Council as a national development zone in 1991 respectively.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The 2010 census revealed total population in Harbin was 10,635,971, representing a 12.99 percent increase over the previous decade.The built-up area, made up of all urban districts but Acheng and Shuangcheng not urbanized yet, had a population of 5,282,083 people.The encompassing metropolitan area was estimated by the OECD to have, as of 2010, a population of 10.5 million.The demographic profile for the Harbin metropolitan area in general is relatively old: 10.95 percent are under the age of 14, while 8.04 percent are over 65, compared to the national average of 16.6% and 8.87 percent, respectively. Harbin has a higher percentage of males than females . Harbin currently has a lower birth rate than other parts of China, with 6.95 births per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to the Chinese average of 12.13 births.Most of Harbin's residents belong to the Han Chinese majority . Ethnic minorities include the Manchu, Hui, and Mongol. In 2000, 616,749 residents belonged to minority ethnicities, among which the vast majority were Manchu, contributing 70.26 percent to the minority population. The second and third largest minority groups were Koreans and Hui nationalities . The Catholic minority is pastorally served by its own Latin rite Apostolic Administration of Harbin, a missionary pre-diocesan jurisdiction. It also has the Eastern Catholic former cathedral of the Russian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Harbin . The Harbin local culture is based on Han culture, combined with Manchu culture and Russian culture.This combination of cultures influences the local architecture style, food, music, and customs. The city of Harbin was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 22 June 2010 as part of the Creative Cities Network.Located in northern Northeast China, Harbin is the northernmost among major cities in China. Under the direct influence of the Siberian Anticyclone, the average daily temperature is −19.7 °C in winter. Annual low temperatures below −35.0 °C are not uncommon. Nicknamed «Ice City» due to its freezingly cold winter, Harbin is decorated by various styles of Ice and snow Sculptures from December to March every year.The «Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival» is one of the four largest ice and snow festivals in the world, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Holmenkollen Ski Festival.Every November, the city of Harbin sends teams of ice artisans to the United States to promote their unique art form. It takes more than 100 artisans to create ICE!, the annual display of indoor Christmas-themed ice carvings in National Harbor, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Kissimmee, Florida and Grapevine, Texas. Every year, thousands of youngsters start their music dreams in this city, and the «Harbin Summer Music Concert» serial activities that always be held in the every year's summer present the music passion of the locals. UNESCO recognizes China's Harbin as «The Music City» as part of the Creative Cities Network in 2010.
Harbin Summer Music Concert is a national concert festival, which is held on 6 August every two years for a period of 10~11 days. During the concert, multiple evenings, concert, race and activities are held. The artists come from all over the world.
The 'Harbin Summer Music Month', which was then renamed as 'Harbin Summer Music Concert', was held in August 1958. The first formal Concert was held on 5 August 1961 in Harbin Youth Palace, and kept on every year until 1966 when the Cultural Revolution started in China.
As Harbin serves as an important military industrial base after PRC's foundation, it is home to several key universities mainly focused on the science and technology service of national military and aerospace industry.Soviet experts played an important role in many education projects in this period.