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Anhui

Anhui ▶ (Chinese: ; pinyin: Ānhu; Wade-Giles: An-hui; Postal map spelling: Ngan-hui, Anhwei or An-hwei) is a province of the People's Republic of China. It is located in eastern China, and it stretches across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River. It borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny section in the north. The provincial capital city is Hefei. The name "Anhui" derives from the names of two cities in south Anhui, Anqing and Huizhou (which is now Huangshan City). The abbreviation for Anhui is "Wan," because there was historically a State of Wan, a Mount Wan, and a Wan river located in the province.

Anhui, although formally a separate province from the seventeenth century, has a history that provides a cross section of China's history. The Yangtze River runs through the provinces, with the ancient cities and provinces that have grown up over the past 7,000 years. Governed by almost every major dynasty that has ruled China, Anhui has experienced the disturbances of nomadic tribes invading periodically. Enjoying abundant energy resources, located in a beautiful natural setting, experiencing an improving per capita income, Anhui has been contributing to China's modernization program.

Geography

Gate in front of the town of Xidi, in Anhui Province, China
Gate in front of the town of Xidi, in Anhui Province, China

Anhui is quite diverse topographically, but generally speaking it can be divided into five topographical zones: plains north of Huaihe River, hilly lands between the Huaihe and Yangtze Rivers, mountainous areas in western Anhui, plains along the Yangtze River, and hilly areas in southern Anhui. The north of the province is part of the North China Plain, while the north-central areas are part of the Huaihe 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 the Huangshan Mountains in southeastern Anhui. It has an altitude of 1873 m.

Major rivers in the province include the Huaihe River in the north and the Yangtze in the south. The largest lake is Lake Chao in the center of the province, with an area of about 800 km². 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 2C north of the Huaihe, and 0 to 3C south of the Huaihe; in July temperatures average 27C or above. Plum rains occur in June and July and may cause flooding.

Economy

Downtown Wuhu (Anhui province, P.R.China), view around Mirror Lake at night.
Downtown Wuhu (Anhui province, P.R.China), view around Mirror Lake at night.

Agriculture in Anhui varies according to the climate zones that the province crosses. North of the Huai He River, wheat and sweet potatoes are grown, while south of the Huai He River mostly rice and wheat is grown. Many of Anhui's agricultural products are famous both at home and abroad, including: grapes, pears, pomegranates, green tea (Huang Shan), and black tea (Keemum). In addition, Anhui is well-known for its animals and livestock, including: crab, bulls, Fuyang yellow cows, Dingyuan pigs, silver fish (Chaohu lake), and white geese of Luan.

Natural resources of Anhui include ironin Ma'anshan, coal in Huainan, and copper in Tongling. Along with the existence of these raw resources, there are also several industries related to them throughout the province. (e.g. steel industry at Ma'anshan). One of the most famous Anhui-based corporations is the automobile company Chery, which is based in Wuhu.

Anhui is a prominent energy supply base for eastern China. The coal fields in Huainan and Huaibei, with an annual output of 46.777 million tons, are the largest producers of coal in southern China. The power generating capacity of the province is 31.93 billion kilowatts.

Compared to its more successful neighbors to the east, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, Anhui has lagged markedly behind in economic development with a GDP per capita around one third the level of those two provinces. There is also great regional disparity within the province itself, and most of the wealth is concentrated in the industrial regions close to the Yangtze River, such as Hefei, Wuhu, and Ma'anshan.

Anhui's nominal GDP for 2004 was approximately 481.3 billion yuan (60.1 billion USD) and a per capita of 7450 yuan (930 USD). It is considered a mid-size economy in terms of economic output.

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