Beijing, the capital of China and the second largest city in the country, has a history that dates back three millennia. With a population of over 21 million, the city has a total area of 16,411 sq km and is located at the tip of the North China Plain. Beijing is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites – including the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City – and over 90 universities. Its strengths in human capital and scientific research have aided in the development of its high-tech sector, and the city currently features the largest number of high-achieving institutes of higher education in scientific research in the country.

Beijing’s 2016 GDP growth from the previous year was 6.7%. Financial services, wholesale and retail trade, and IT services make up its largest sectors. The city’s industrial production is dominated by heavy industries and large enterprises, while the scientific research and technical services sectors recorded rapid growth in recent years. Beijing also features innovation in modern service sectors, including developments in outsourcing services, cultural sectors, and creative industries. Beijing has attempted to build a “Chinese Silicon Valley”, and to facilitate this, the Zhongguancun Science Park was set up in 1988 to attract investment in science and technology. Beijing’s enormous consumption demand from both the local residents and tourists has made it one of the biggest consumer markets in China.


Suzhou is a city located in the central part of the Yangtze River Delta. The Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway links the city with other major cities in China. It is a famous tourist city with historical and cultural significance, and is especially renowned for its historical private gardens. Suzhou has been transformed into a high-tech city in the last two decades and is now known as one of the fastest growing high-tech industrial cities in China.

Thanks to its preferential tax policy for limited partnership venture capital enterprises through the China-Singapore jointly developed Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), Suzhou has become one of the most attractive locations for international companies and high-tech entrepreneurs to establish R&D and manufacturing businesses. Today the SIP is housed with over 20,000 national and multinational companies, including 3M, Samsung, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, Phillips, AMD, Bosch, and Eli Lily. In 2013, SIP launched the “Nanopolis Suzhou” initiative to provide a complete ecosystem support for the growth of nanotechnology and its enabling industries. The city’s industrial area of focus includes micro and nano-manufacturing technologies, energy and green technologies, and nano medicine. Suzhou intends to attract more nanotech companies and experts from all over the world to make it the most global and innovative nanotech hub in China.


Ningbo, a beautiful harbor city in Zhejiang Province, lies along the coast of the East China Sea. It has numerous historical temples and beautiful lakes that attract tourists from across China and abroad each year. The city is a 2.5-hour drive from Shanghai, and features a trip across the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. Ningbo was one of the first coastal cities to have opened to the world in the 1980s; recently, it has achieved designation as a national hub in MOFCOM’s (Chinese Ministry of Commerce) 2015-2020 development plan of distributive trade and logistics. In 2016, the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port was the busiest international trading hub in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, with a total throughput of over 900 million tons.

Industry is the main economic driver of the city’s economy. Key industries in Ningbo include petrochemicals, chemicals, electrical machinery, telecom equipment manufacturing, IT, and port-related industries. Ningbo is also an international hub of material innovation, and is one of the top seven industrial bases for new materials in China. The city has formed several R&D institutes such as the Material Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences as well as the Northern Material Science and Engineering Institute. It has also established five national and provincial-level industrial bases for new materials. In the fields of magnetic materials, high-performance metal materials, and new synthetic materials, Ningbo is a definite global competitor.


Located in central China, Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, lies at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers. It is home to hundreds of hills and nearly 200 lakes of various sizes. With a water area making up 25.8% of its entire territory, it is ranked as one of the top cities in China in terms of water resources. This large metropolis has an area of 8,494 sq km and a population of 10.6 million. It is recognized as the political, economic, cultural, educational, and transportation center of central China. In 2016, the city’s GDP exceeded 180 billion USD, growing at an annual rate of 8.5%.

The major industries in Wuhan include optoelectronics, automotive manufacturing, iron and steel manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, bioengineering, and new materials. The optoelectronics and telecommunication industries have delivered effective and sustained growth over recent years, and are now the largest manufacturers of optical fiber and cable in China. In the software industry, many software products and property rights have achieved the national China Science Progress Prize. Its multimedia education software sector, CAD/CAM software, GPS software, and simulation software sectors enjoy national fame. By combining traditional industries with innovative high-tech industries, Wuhan has positioned itself as one of the most progressive business cities in Asia.


Zhengzhouthe capital city of Henan province located in east-central China, is situated along the Yellow River and is considered to be one of China’s ancient capital cities. The city has a population of 9.3 million (as of 2015), and its city center spreads across 147.7 sq km. Zhengzhou features the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Pagoda Forest as well as the renowned Shaolin Buddhist Temple where the martial art of Kung Fu originated.

Due to its strategic location in Chinese transport networks, Zhengzhou is increasingly attracting domestic and international investment in addition to migrants from other areas, transforming the city into one of the largest transport hubs and economic centers in China. Three high-tech industrial development districts were established during the 1990s, which are currently home to more than 4,000 high-tech corporations. Its seven leading industries include automobile and equipment manufacturing, electronic information, new materials, aluminum processing, foods, pharmaceuticals, and casual clothing. Zhengzhou possesses significant advantages in textiles, machinery, building materials, refractory materials, energy resources, as well as raw and auxiliary materials industries. Zhengzhou also features a massive iPhone manufacturing plant through the Foxconn Corporation, which is dubbed “Apple City” since it produces 80% of the world’s iPhones. 

On April 1st, 2017, China unveiled a pilot Free-Trade Zone (FTZ) in Henan Province, which links Zhengzhou with the cities of Luoyang and Kaifeng. The FTZ is believed to boost the regional economy through lowering the threshold for businesses to enter the market, while also abolishing restrictions on investments and offering better market access for foreign investors.