Fujian ▶ (Chinese: 福建; pinyin: Fújiàn; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal map spelling: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan or Taiwanese Hok-kiàn) is a province of China located on the southeast coast of the country. It borders Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies on its eastern border, across the Taiwan Strait. The name Fujian was coined during the Tang Dynasty, and comes from the combination of Fuzhou and Jian'ou, two cities in Fujian.
Fujian, bestowed with natural beauty embracing ocean, mountains, and plains, has gained renown as an education center and pristine nature. The ecology of the province has been threatened of late by rapid economic advancement stimulated by proximity to Taiwan and ethnic ties with Taiwan. Isolated from the power centers of China by mountains and sea, Fujian became a easy target for Japanese encroachment and colonization during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Most of Fujian is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC). However, the archipelagos of Kinmen (formerly known as Quemoy) (Chinese: 金門; pinyin: Jīnmén; Wade-Giles: Kinmen) and Matsu (Chinese: 馬祖; pinyin: Măzŭ; Wade-Giles: Matsu) are under the control of the Republic of China (ROC) based in Taiwan. As a result, there are actually two provinces (in the sense of government organization) with the same name. The two sides use different romanizations of Mandarin to render the name of their respective provinces. The PRC side renders the name in Hanyu Pinyin, yielding "Fujian," while the ROC side renders the name of its province in Tongyong Pinyin, Wade-Giles and Postal map spelling, resulting in "FuJian," "Fuchien" and "Fukien," respectively.
The existence of two parallel Fujian provincial governments is a result of the Chinese Civil War. After losing mainland China (including most of Fujian) to communist forces in 1949, the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan while retaining control over a few offshore islands of Fujian. Since then, the PRC and the ROC (Taiwan) have maintained separate provincial governments for the province.
Fuzhou is the provincial capital of PRC controlled Fujian.
Fujian is mostly mountainous, and is traditionally described as "Eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland" (八山一水一分田). The northwest is higher in altitude, with the Wuyi Mountains forming a natural border with Jiangxi. The highest point of Fujian is Huanggang Peak in the Wuyi Mountains, with an altitude of 2157 m.
Punting on the River of Nine Bends, Wuyishan, China
The province faces the East China Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the southeast. The coastline is ragged and has many bays and islands. Major islands off the coast of the province include Quemoy (controlled by the Republic of China), Haitan Island, and Nanri Island.
The Minjiang River and its tributaries cut through much of northern and central Fujian. Other rivers include the Jinjiang River and the Jiulong River.
Fujian is separated from Taiwan by the 180-km-wide Taiwan Strait. Some of the small islands in the Taiwan Strait are also part of the province, while some other parts, namely the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, are under the administration of the Republic of China in Taiwan.
Fujian has a subtropical climate with warm winters. In January the coastal regions average around 7-10 °C while the hills average 6-8 °C. In summer temperatures are high, and province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400-2000 mm.
Xiamen with old and new buildings.
Fujian is very hilly, and as a result, farmland is sparse. Rice is the main crop, and it is supplemented by sweet potatoes and wheat, while cash crops include sugar cane and rapeseed. In addition, Fujian leads the provinces of China in longan production, and is also a major producer of lychees and tea. Seafood (especially shellfish) is another important product, since it is also one of China's main fishing zones.
Along with its agriculture, many mineral resources have been discovered in Fujian, including iron, coal, manganese, tungsten, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, and aluminum. The province has also formed a complete industrial system, with the petrochemical, electronics, machinery, construction, building materials, and light and textile sectors especially flourishing since the economic reforms of the 1970s.
Since Fujian is blessed with a tremendous forest-cover rate, (which ranks first in the mainland) it is often referred to as the 'Green Treasury' and serves as one of China's largest forestry zones. Additionally, since there are lots of rivers with fast drifting speed and large dropping elevations, the province ranks first in hydropower in all of eastern China.
Fujian is one of the wealthier provinces of China. Xiamen was one of the first cities in China to be classified as a Special Economic Zone, and since then there have been many more. Currently, Fujian has 34 counties operating as special economic zones, technological development zones, or economic open zones. Because of the closeness both geographically and culturally with Taiwan, Fujian also receives a great deal of foreign investment from there, contributing even more to its economic prosperity.
In 2005, Fujian's nominal GDP was 648.7 billion yuan (US $81 billion), an increase of 11 percent from the previous year.