Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song–Yuan China
Located on the southeast coast of Mainland China, Quanzhou is one of three core cities in Fujian Province. Long known as a leading port of commerce and culture, the city boasts brilliant economic and industrial performances, a rich historical legacy, and a unique multicultural heritage.
A World Heritage City
Known as “Zayton” in ancient times, Quanzhou was once “the largest port in the East” and the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, having trade connections with more than 100 countries and regions and welcoming people from all corners of the world. Chinese philosopher Zhu Xi said that in Quanzhou, “the streets are full of religious buildings and sages”. Merchant and explorer Marco Polo marvelled that it was a “city of lights”. Chinese news commentator and journalist Bai Yansong believes that it is “a city to visit at least once in a lifetime”. Thousands of years of maritime culture, Maritime Silk Road culture and Minnan (southern Fujian) culture intertwine in Quanzhou.
Today, Quanzhou is one of the first batch of prominent historical and cultural cities and the first Culture City of East Asia in China, as well as a World Heritage city. It is the only city in China that is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List encompassing all three categories of heritage properties (cultural, natural and mixed).
A City of Endeavour
In 2022, Quanzhou achieved a GDP of RMB1.2trn (an increase of 3.5% over the previous year), ranking 19th among all cities in the country. The added value of the city’s industrial enterprises above the designated size (namely enterprises with an annual main business income of RMB20m and above) increased by 3.9%. The RMB2.6trn industrial market has nurtured nine RMB100bn industry clusters. Seven of the nine clusters achieved growth in terms of their industrial enterprises’ added value, among which the added value of the electronic information industry increased by 8.6%, the machinery and equipment industry by 8.8% and the textiles and clothing industry by 9.1%. The hi-tech industry continued to lead the way in terms of performance, with the added value of the city’s hi-tech enterprises above the designated size growing by 10.2%. The output of eco-friendly and smart products experienced rapid growth. For instance, the output of solar cells (photovoltaic cells) surged by 28.7%.
A City of “China Chic”
Quanzhou has been named “China’s Brand Economy City”, “China’s Top Ten Brand City” and the “Capital of ‘China Chic’ Brands”. Thanks to the rise of “China chic”, custom-made clothes and shoes with traditional Chinese cultural elements have become popular in the consumer market. Checking in on social media at the “Giant Rabbits” — a series of giant rabbit installations on the streets of Quanzhou in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit — has brought a surge in online traffic, while wearing the traditional Quanzhou fisherwomen’s headwear and costumes has become fashionable.
A City Full of Life
As a historic city known for having numerous religious buildings on its streets and alleys, Quanzhou’s attractions lie in its heritage properties, magnificent mountains and seas, and bustling city life. In its transformation and revival, Quanzhou has made every effort to retain the indigenous people and preserve the original business models and authentic ways of life.
Quanzhou has a history of more than 1,300 years, yet this ancient city never stops evolving to stay youthful. Quanzhou welcomes you.