Anhui (; formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China, officially part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is located across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, bordering Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a short section in the north.
With a population of 63.65 million, Anhui is the 8th most populous province in China. It is the 22nd largest Chinese province based on area, and the 12th most densely-populated region of all 34 Chinese provincial regions. Anhui's population is mostly composed of Han Chinese. Languages spoken within the province include Mandarin, Jianghuai Mandarin, and the Gan, Wu, and Hui varieties of Chinese.
The name "Anhui" derives from the names of two cities: Anqing and Huizhou (now Huangshan City). The abbreviation for Anhui is "Chinese: 皖; pinyin: wǎn" after the historical State of Wan, Mount Wan, and the Wan river.
The administration of Anhui is composed of the provincial administrative system, led by the Governor, Provincial Congress, the People's Political Consultative Conference, and the Provincial Higher People's Court. Anhui is known[by whom?] as a province with political tradition in China's government system. Aside from managing provincial government departments, the provincial government manages 16 cities, 62 counties, 43 county-level districts and 1,522 townships.
The total GDP of Anhui Province ranked 11th among China's 31 provincial regions as of 2019.
Anhui Province was established in the sixth year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty (1667); before that, there was no coherent concept of "Anhui". The province also has another name, "Wan", because, during the Spring and Autumn Period (722–481 B.C.), a small country named "Wan" was here and a mountain called "Wanshan" is in the province.
Before Anhui was established, this land had a long history. 20,000 years ago, human beings inhabited this area, proven by some findings in Fanchang County. Archaeologists have identified the cultural domains of Yangshao and Longshan, dated to the Neolithic Age (between 4,000 and 10,000 years ago). In relation to these cultures, archeologists have discovered through excavation a 4500-year-old city called the Nanchengzi Ruins in Guzhen County, after they discovered a Neolithic city wall and a moat that was part of a much larger and integrated city in the region during their 2013 disinterment.
There are many historic sites found in the province from the period of the Xia dynasty (2100 B.C.) to the Warring Kingdoms (475–221 B.C.). After the Qin dynasty unified China, this area belonged to different prefectures such as the Jiujiang, Zhang, Tang and Sishui Prefectures. Anhui became parts of Yang, Yu, and Xu prefectures during Han dynasties. In the period of the Three Kingdoms (222–280 A.D.), Anhui was separately dominated by the Wu State and Wei State. During the Jin dynasty, Northern and Southern dynasties and the Sui dynasty, Anhui was part of Yang, Xu and Yu prefectures, respectively. Later on, the Hui area flourished quickly and the economy and culture of Hui Prefecture created great influence during the Song Dynasty. During the Yuan dynasty, ruled by the Mongolian emperor, Anhui area was a part of Henan province. During the Ming dynasty, the area was directly managed by the administration of the Capital of Nanjing. Shortly after the Qing dynasty was established, this area and Jiangsu province were merged as one province until the sixth year (1666 or 1667) of the Kangxi Emperor's reign in the Qing dynasty.
Later during the Qing dynasty, Anhui played an important role in the Self-Strengthening Movement led by Li Hongzhang, an important Prime Minister during the later Qing Dynasty. At this time, many western weapons, factories and modern government concepts were introduced into China. Over the next 50 years, Anhui became one of the most aggressive areas with liberal thought. Within this environment, many ideologists appeared in Anhui. Several of them impacted the future of China including, Hu Shih, a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat, and Chen Duxiu, founder of the Chinese Communist Party and the first General Secretary of the CCP.
In 1938, the north and central areas of the province were heavily damaged because Chiang Kai-shek, the then-President of the Republic of China, broke the dam of Yellow River, hoping this strategy could slow down the invasion by the Imperial Japanese Army. Within only ten days of the dam breaking, the water and sands drowned all of north and middle area of this province, 500,000 to 900,000 Chinese lives were lost, along with an unknown number of Japanese soldiers. The flood prevented the Japanese Army from taking Zhengzhou.
Following the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945, the capital city of Anhui province moved to what was then a small town, Hefei. At the same time, the provincial government spent a lot of energy and money to develop this new capital city which has become China Top 25 city (of totally 660 cities all over China) in 2010s. After 1949, the government also launched many Water Projects to solve the hurt during World War II. In addition, many other areas of China supported Anhui's development. In the later 1990s, the province has become one of the fastest growing provinces in China. In 2010s, the province became a part of China Yangtze River Delta Economic Area which is the most developed area of China. And the capital city, Hefei, is set as the sub-central city of this Economic Area, only after Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou.
In terms of culture, Northern Anhui was firmly a part of the North China Plain together with modern-day Henan province, northern Jiangsu and southern Shandong provinces. Central Anhui was densely populated and constituted mostly of fertile land from the Huai River watershed. In contrast, the culture of Southern Anhui, bordered mostly along the Yangtze, was closer to Jiangxi and southern Jiangsu provinces. The hills of southeastern Anhui formed a unique and distinct cultural sphere of its own.
Anhui is quite diverse topographically. The north of the province is part of the North China Plain while the north-central areas are part of the Huai River watershed. Both of these regions are very flat and densely populated. The land becomes more uneven further south, with the Dabie Mountains occupying much of southwestern Anhui and a series of hills and ranges cutting through southeastern Anhui. The Yangtze River finds its way through south Anhui in between these two mountainous regions. The highest peak in Anhui is Lotus Peak, part of Huangshan in southeastern Anhui. It has an altitude of 1873 m.
Major rivers include the Huai River in the north and the Yangtze in the south. The largest lake is Lake Chaohu situated in the center of the province, with an area of about 800 km2 (310 sq mi). The southeastern part of the province near the Yangtze River has many lakes as well.
As with topography, the province differs in climate from north to south. The north is more temperate and has more clearcut seasons. January temperatures average at around −1 to 2 °C north of the Huai River, and 0 to 3 °C south of the Huai River; in July temperatures average 27 °C or above. Plum rains occur in June and July and may cause flooding.
The Anhui elm, Ulmus gaussenii W. C. Cheng, is a medium size deciduous tree whose natural range is restricted to the valleys of the Langya limestone mountains of Chu Xian. The tree was most commonly found on the flood plains, indicating a tolerance of periodic inundation. U. gaussenii is now the world's rarest and most endangered elm species, with only approximately 30 trees known to survive in the wild in 2009.
The province is also home to the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis, simplified Chinese: 扬子鳄; traditional Chinese: 揚子鱷; pinyin: yángzǐ'è), also known as the Yangtze alligator, China alligator, or historically the muddy dragon, a critically endangered crocodilian.
These 16 prefecture-level cities are in turn subdivided into 105 county-level divisions (44 districts, 6 county-level cities, and 55 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1,845 township-level divisions (972 towns, 634 townships, nine ethnic townships, and 230 subdistricts).
The Politics of Anhui Province is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.
The Governor of Anhui (安徽省省长) is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Anhui. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Anhui Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (安徽省委书记), colloquially termed the "Anhui Party Chief".
Most provincial government departments and the Governor office are located at No.1 Zhongshan Road, moved from old downtown of Hefei since 2016. Provincial government is responsible to manage 16 prefecture-level cities, 105 counties, 1845 townships and different departments in Anhui. The National People's Congress (NPC) is just located near provincial government. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (C.P.P.C.C.) is located at No.317, Suzhou Road. The Provincial Higher People's Court is located at no. 472 Changjiang Rd.
Typically, annual provincial congress meeting is held in the first quarter of each year shortly before national congress meeting and the annual meeting of C.P.P.C.C. is held in the first quarter or the fourth quarter of each year.
Agriculture in Anhui varies according to the climate zones that the province crosses. To the north of the Huai River, wheat and sweet potatoes are grown, while to the south of the Huai River it is rice and wheat instead.
Natural resources of Anhui include iron in Ma'anshan, coal in Huainan, and copper in Tongling. There are industries related to these natural resources (e.g. steel industry at Ma'anshan). One of the famous Anhui-based corporations is the automobile company Chery, which is based in Wuhu.
Compared to its more prosperous neighbours to the east, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, Anhui has lagged markedly behind in economic development, with a GDP per capita around half of those two provinces in 2017 rapidly improved from 1/3 of those two provinces in 2010. However, the provincial GDP per capita is based on the population registered in the province (that is, with local Hukou), but not necessarily residing there. Therefore, the per-capita GDP of provinces with many residents working elsewhere is likely underestimated.
Anhui's nominal GDP for 2016 was approximately 2.4 trillion yuan (US$365.8 billion) in the year of 2016. In 2017, the province GPD exceeds Beijing's GDP first time. It is considered as a mid-size economy in terms of economic output. The province has some high tech companies like iFlyTek which was listed as the smartest companies in the world in 2016. At iFlyTek's basis, China Speech Valley was found in 2010s which represents China top concentration of commercialized Artificial Intelligence. The province is China biggest clusters of household electrical appliances as well as many electronic products with the largest volume manufacturing centers of Haier, Hisense, Whirlpool, Gree, Royalstar, Meling. Hefei, as capital city of Anhui, probably is one of China largest intelligence manufacturing centers in the world.
Additionally, the province has developed many other industries/companies within different fields, such as:
77 Fortune 500 companies have operations in this province, including 3M, ABB, VW, Continental AG, and Unilever.
Hefei Economic and Technological Development Zone is located in the southwest of Hefei. The zone is divided into two functional areas. The east part is allocated for manufacturing purpose and it also has two parks; the west part is where the business center, Hefei university town, and the international community center are located. It is established in 1993, and it is located close to Hefei Luogang International Airport.
Hefei Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was founded in October 1990 and approved by the State Council as a state-level Development Zone in March 1991. In 1997, the Development Zone was ratified as an APEC Science and Technology Industrial Park, with special open policies to APEC and EU members. Hefei High Tech Park was also approved as a National High Tech Export Base in 2000 and obtained the award of an Advanced High Tech Zone under the Torch Program in 2003. So far, more than 100 hi-tech enterprises have entered the zone. Industries encouraged in the zone include Chemicals Production and Processing, Electronics Assembly & Manufacturing, Heavy Industry, Instruments & Industrial Equipment Production, Medical Equipment and Supplies, Research and Development, Telecommunications Equipment.
Established in 1993, Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Zone is the first state-level development zone approved by central government in Anhui Province. As the hub in the west of the Yangtze Delta, it is an ideal place for business in Central China and East China such as manufacturing place or logistic center due to great transportation advantage. Wuhu port is the last fine deepwater port here going against the Yangtse River. It is the main foreign trade base and overseas transportation center. It takes 1 hour from Wuhu to Nanjing Lukou International Airport and to Hefei Luogang Airport.
Wuhu Export Processing Zone was approved to be a national level export processing zone by State Council. Wuhu Export Processing Zone is located in the Wuhu EDZ, with a total planned area of 2.95 km2 (1.14 sq mi) with the first-stage are being 1.1 km2 (0.42 sq mi). It is located close to Wuhu Airport and Wuhu Port. Industries encouraged in the zone include Electronics Assembly & Manufacturing, Heavy Industry, Instruments & Industrial Equipment Production, Shipping/Warehousing/Logistics, Trading and Distribution.
Historically, Anhui's transport network was hampered by the lack of bridges across the Yangtze River, which divides the province into northern and southern regions. The first bridge across the Yangtze in Anhui, the Tongling Yangtze River Bridge, was completed in 1995. As of October 2014, Anhui had four bridges across the Yangtze, at Ma'anshan, Wuhu, Tongling, and Anqing.
Anhui was a place with a lack of a railway network. The situation has improved in the last 20 years. Most cities in this province are now connected by a high-speed train system. The newest one is Hefei South railway station where most high-speed trains pass through. The Chinese government set Hefei as the leading National railway hub in 2016. In addition, according to the Chinese central government, Anhui will set at least 5 sub-central railway hubs in the next 5 years.
Since Hefei is the hub of China's high-speed train system, there are many important railway lines connecting the cities in this province, including:
Several cities of Anhui have become the crossroads of China's highway system. The province has set an ambitious plan from 2015 to 2025. Some important highways include:
And G4212, G5011, National Highway 206, National Highway 312, National Highway 346, S17 Bengbu-Hefei Expressway, G3W Expressway
This is an important reason why so many express companies set their hubs in Hefei.
Hefei and Wuhu already have complete subway systems, and there are 9 cities in Anhui with clear future plans for subway systems.
The province has 5 major commercial airports and another 4 major airports are under construction. Hefei Xinqiao International Airport and Huangshan International Airport are the 2 international airports. The 5 airports in operation are:
Note: Hefei Xinqiao International Airport will undergo expansion from 2018 to 2025.
Anhui has a highly unbalanced gender ratio. According to a 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal, in the 1–4 age group, there are 138 boys for every 100 girls, making it among the most unbalanced of provinces in China.
Anhui spans many geographical and cultural regions. The northern, flatter parts of the province, along the Huai River and further north, are most akin to neighboring provinces like Henan, Shandong and northern Jiangsu. In contrast, the southern, hilly parts of the province are more similar in culture and dialect to other southern, hilly provinces, like Zhejiang and Jiangxi.
Mandarin dialects are spoken over the northern and central parts of the province, north of the Yangtze river. Dialects to the north (e.g. Bengbu dialect) are classified as Zhongyuan Mandarin, together with dialects in provinces such as Henan and Shandong; dialects in the central parts (e.g. Hefei dialect) are classified as Jianghuai Mandarin, together with dialects in the central parts of neighboring Jiangsu province. Non-Mandarin dialects are spoken to the south of the Yangzi: dialects of Wu are spoken in Xuancheng prefecture-level city, though these are rapidly being replaced by Jianghuai Mandarin; dialects of Gan are spoken in a few counties in the southwest bordering Jiangxi province; and the Huizhou dialects are spoken in about ten counties in the far south, a small but highly diverse and unique group of Chinese dialects.
Huangmeixi, which originated in the environs of Anqing in southwestern Anhui, is a form of traditional Chinese opera popular across China. Huiju, a form of traditional opera originating in the Huizhou-speaking areas of southern Anhui, is one of the major precursors of Beijing Opera; in the 1950s, Huiju (which had disappeared) was revived. Luju is a type of traditional opera found across central Anhui, from east to west.
Anhui cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. Combining elements of cooking from northern Anhui, south-central Anhui, and the Huizhou-speaking areas of southern Anhui, Anhui cuisine is known for its use of wild game and herbs, both land and sea, and comparatively simple methods of preparation.
Anhui has a high concentration of traditional products related to calligraphy: Xuanzhou (today Xuancheng) and Huizhou (today Huangshan City) are revered for producing Xuan Paper and Hui Ink, respectively, which are traditionally considered the best types of paper and ink for Chinese calligraphy. She County is famous for the She Inkstone, one of the most preferred types of inkstones (a required tool in traditional calligraphy).
Anhui has some good universities. Most universities in Anhui are located in Hefei, Wuhu, Bengbu, Maanshan, some of them are pretty well known. Specifically, Hefei is one of the most important research central cities in China with leading basic scientific research capability.
The predominant religions in Anhui are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 4.64% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 5.30% of the population identifies as Christian. According to a 2010 survey, Muslims constitute 0.58% of the population of Anhui.
The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 89.48% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and folk religious sects.
As part of China's ongoing Christian persecution, Anhui's 3000 seater megachurch was demolished in October 2019.