Jiangsu is a coastal province of East China. While its territory is one of the smallest, it has the highest population density, with more than 80 million inhabitants.
Virtually the entirety of the population is Han, with some Hui and Manchu minorities.
The name of Jiangsu comes from the old name of the capital, Nanjing (once called Jiangning), and the name of the most important city, Suzhou. Jiangsu was part of China since the early dynasties, and has always been – together with the bordering Zhejiang – an economical powerhouse.
Jiangning was renamed to Nanjing by the early Ming dynasty. Ming started its revolt against the Mongol Yuan dynasty from there. Later they moved the capital of the Empire to Beijing. Nanjing would become capital again during the government of the Republic of China.
Jiangsu, the Land of Water
Jiangsu is mostly plain, with virtually no mountains or hills, which make it ideal for agriculture. This is also accentuated by the massive presence of rivers and lakes. Jiangsu is sometimes called Shuixiang, which means literally the land of water.
The climate is subtropical and pretty humid. The rain season happens during spring and summer, with typhoons by the beginning of autumn.
The most important cities are Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Xuzhou, Changzhou, Yangzhou, Nantong and Taizhou. The majority of them have more than 5 million inhabitants, with Suzhou reaching more than 10 million. Suzhou’s historical importance makes it possible that such a big cities can exist while being so close to Shanghai.
Suzhou is also known as the Venice of the East, due to the amount of small canals and rivers throughout the city.
The first province of China by GDP per capita
In average, Jiangsu’s people are, among the other regular provinces of China, the most rich. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita, just behind Beijing and Shanghai municipalities, and Macau and Hong Kong SAR.
The agriculture of Jiangsu, favored by the geography of the territory, relies on silk, tea, peanuts, cotton soybeans, rice, wheat and many more.
Phosphorus, marble and mineral salt are very important to Jiangsu’s economy as well.
Due to its primary sector’s focus on silk and cotton, the textile industry in Jiangsu was always important. Another prominent one is the food industry.
The nominal GDP of Jiangsu is second only to Guangdong province, due to the bigger population present there.
There are more than 100 special economic and technological development all over the province. Infrastructure is very developed, especially high speed railway and highways. This is thanks to the fact that the province is in the middle between Shanghai and Beijing.
Above there is Heaven; Under there is Suzhou
Jiangsu has a historical culture in Chinese opera. It is also famous for its silk, teaware, lacquerware and jadeware. Suzhou was especially famous due to its economical prominence. Many in history considered it to be one of the most wonderful cities of China.
An old saying recited: Above there is Heaven; under there are Suzhou and Hangzhou. This specifies how rich those two cities must have been.
The fact that Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang and very close to Shanghai and Suzhou makes people often group together Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai in the Jiangzhehu circuit – the richest of China.
Nanjing, as an important capital city in imperial Chinese history, has lots of important sites to visit. For example, one of them is the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (hosting Hongwu, the first emperor of Ming dynasty). The city also hosts many recent sites, such as the Sun Zhong Shan (or Sun Yat Sen) Mausoleum.
Jiangsu has a big advantage due to its geographical position. It can trade with the rest of the world thanks to its big ports and the vicinity to Shanghai. It is easy to reach from all over China.
The high GDP per capita ensures the potential of the luxury and premium segments of different markets in the area.