Square: 11,760 km2- Population: 15.47 million (2015)
Tianjin is one of the five national central cities of China and one of the largest cities in China with more than 15.4 million inhabitants, which makes it the 6th largest city in the world. Tianjin is located 150km to the north of Beijing and borders the Beijing and Hebei provinces and the Bohai Gulf on the Yellow Sea. Part of the Bohai Economic Rim, it is the largest coastal city in northern China. Tianjin is governed as one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of the PRC and is under the direct control of the central government. In terms of urban population, Tianjin is the fourth largest city in China, after Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
During the Sui Dynasty, Tianjin was only a small village, located at the intersection of the South Grand Canal and the North Grand Canal. The spot was the birthplace of today’s Tianjin. By the middle of the Tang Dynasty, Tianjin had become a significant water and land port for transferring food and silk from Southern China into Northern China. During the Jin and Yuan Dynasties, it was also a town of military importance and a food grain transportation center. In 1404, the second year of the Yongle Emperor’s rule during the Ming Dynasty, Tianjin was formally built as a city.
In 1860, Tianjin was opened as a trading port. After that, the Western superpowers set up concessions one after another so Tianjin became a spearhead for opening up and the base of the Westernization movement in modern China. Until the 1930s it served as the largest industrial and commercial city and economic center of Northern China.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the city of Tianjin became one of four municipalities that had provincial-level status, reporting directly to the central government. Since the late 1970s, as China began to open up, it has developed rapidly. Now Tianjin ranks as one of the four most important cites in China along with Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. It is also an international harbor and the economic center of Northern China.
The city has many sights; its streetscapes – an assemblage of historic nineteenth - and early twentieth-century European architecture, juxtaposed with the concrete and glass monoliths of contemporary China – are its most engrossing attraction. Though wide swaths of the city are being redeveloped, much of the colonial architecture has been placed under protection, and the shopping opportunities, especially for antiques, just about justify a day-trip from the capital, an hour away by train.
Getting in and out of the city is convenient because of the well-planned transportation system. If you want to come by water, there are a series of international and domestic sea routes in the port of the city, which is the largest port in northern China. If you plan to arrive by air, Tianjin Binhai International Airport provides service to most of the major cities in the country and also cities in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Tianjin is the cradle of modem machinery and weaving industry in China. Dozens of industrial zones and areas were set up since the founding of PRC and the city has evolved and modernized as China has opened up to the outside world. Tianjin is a dual-core city, with its main urban area located along the Hai River, which connects the Yellow River and Yangtze River via the Grand Canal; and Binhai, a “New Area” located east of the city, on the coast of the Bohai Sea. Attesting to Tianjin’s place in China’s economy as a hub of advanced industry and financial activity, more than 300 Fortune 500 companies have established operations in Binhai.