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Sichuan Province

Population: 87.2 million

Urban population: 27 million

Nationalities:Han, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Hui and Qiang.

GDP (2007): CNY1.05 trillion

Local Weather:Click for Chengdu, Sichuan Forecast

Area: 485,000 km2

Altitude: 300 - 700 meters in the lowlands; over 3,000 meters on the western plateau.

Climatic features: subtropical, humid, monsoonal climate in the eastern lowlands with frequent fog; temperate-subtropical highland climate in the west, with intense sunlight but low temperatures.

Average temperature: in January, 3oC to 8oC in the lowlands, -9oC to 3oC on the plateau, and 8 to 13oC in the south; in July, 25oC to 29oC in the lowlands, 11 to 17oC on the plateau, and 22oC to 26oC in the south.

Annual average rainfall: 1,000 mm in the lowlands, 500-700 mm on the plateau, and 800-1,200 mm in the south.

Physical features: Basin in the east, plateau in the west, mountain in the central south, highland swamps in the central north. Known as the Sichuan Basin, the eastern lowlands are closed off by mountains and plateaus on all sides. The drainage basin is crossed by the Yangtze River and is rich with red soil.

Mountains: Minshan, Longmen, Micang, and Daba Mountains in the north, Wushan Mountain in the east; Shaluli, Qionglai, and Daxue Mountains in the west.

Plateau: the western Sichuan Plateau is an eastern extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Rivers: the Yangtze River flows along Sichuan's western and southern borders, with the southern segment called the Jinsha River. The Yangtze traverses the Sichuan Basin and is joined by several tributaries, the major ones being the Minjiang-Dadu, Tuojiang, and Jialing Rivers, on the plateau it meets another tributary, the Yalong River.

Products: rice, corn, sweet potatoes, wheat, sorghum, rape, sugar cane, peanuts, tea, ramie, silk cocoons, cotton, jute, ambary hemp; sun-cured tobacco; tung oil, camphor, Chinese tallow tree, raw lacquer, white wax; silver fungus, bulb of fritillary, bamboo; oranges, tangerines, pears, yangtao, lychees, longans, bananas; iron, coal, managnese, natural gas, petroleum, salt, alluvial gold, copper, nickel, phosphorus, sulphur, and mica.

Administrative divisions: 3 autonomous prefectures, 19 cities, 165 counties, 8 autonomous counties, and 1 industrial-agricultural district.

Capital: Chengdu

Neighboring areas: Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan Provinces, Tibet Autonomous Region.

Major cities: Chengdu, Chongqing, Dukou, Zigong, Yibin, Neijiang, Wanxian, Nanchong, Leshan, Luzhou, Xichang.

Tourist attractions: Mount Emei, 3,099 meters in elevation, one of the four mountains in China famous for their Buddhist temples, Mount Qingcheng, near Guanxian County, known historically as a center of the Taoist culture, Dujiangyan, on Minjiang River near Guanxian, built in 250 B.C., one of the earliest and most effective water conservancy projects; Baodingshan sculptures in Dazu County, about 100 kilometers west of Chongqing, Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest Buddha statue in the world, in Leshan ; the Three Gorges on the Yangtze; Jiuzhaigou, a scene spot in Nanping County at the foot of the Minshan Mountain.

Comments: Sichuan is the home of the giant panda and golden-haired monkey.

Chengdu-Chongqing Region

Because the abbreviated Chinese name for Chengdu is Cheng and for Chongqing, Yu, the Chengdu-Chongqing basin area is known as the Cheng-Yu Region. Encompassing the cities of Chengdu, Zigong, Neijiang, Chongqing, Nanchong, Suining, and Deyang, it is a region characterized by dense population, agricultural prosperity, and heavy industry.

The area is divided into three parts. To the east of the Qujiang River are parallel ridges and valleys with the hills having an average altitude of 700 - 800 meters. Between the Qujiang River and Longquan Mountain are fertile, flat-topped hills. The Chengdu Plain to the west of Longquan Mountain is the largest plain in Southwest China, with an area of 6,000 square kilometers. It is drained by the Minjiang and Tuojiang Rivers. Called the Heavenly Land, this region has an efficient irrigation network and is renowned for its farming products.

It is warm in winter and hot in summer with heavy precipitation and a frost-free period of over 300 days. Crops grow all the year round. A high percentage of the rice it produces is shipped out to meet consumption demands elsewhere. The region also produces cotton, rapeseed, corn, wheat, and sweet potatoes. Sugar cane is grown in Neijiang; silkworms are raised in Nanchong and Leshan; Biancha tea is produced in Ya'an, Qionglai, and Guanxian Counties; and oranges and tangerines are grown along the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers.

Elevation extremes: Sichuan is high in the west and low in the east in terms of its topography. Generally speaking, the west are plateaus and mountainous regions some 4,000 meters above the sea level while the east are the basin and hilly land with an elevation between 1,000 and 3,000 meters. The Sichuan Basin, covering an area of 165,000 sq km, is one of the four largest basins in China. The elevation within the basin is between 200 and 750 meters, sloping down from north to south.

Natural resources:

The reserves of hydropower resources in Sichuan come to 150 million kw, second only to Tibet, and the exploitable potential is over 100 million kw, more than any other area in China.

Sichuan boasts of 132 verified mineral resources. It leads the country in reserves of vanadium, titanium, calcium, mirabilite, fluorite, natural gas, and sulfur iron, and leads the world in reserves of titanium. Its reserves of vanadium ranks third in the world.

The pleasant climate provides a favorable environment for plants and animals. The forests cover a total area of 7.46 million ha. Sichuan is home to one-fifth of the country's dawn redwoods and Cathaya argyrophylla, two species so old they are regarded as living fossils. It is also rich in animal resources. There are over 1,000 kinds of vertebrates, accounting for 40% of the country. Among them are 55 kinds of rare animals. The well-known giant pandas inhabit mainly in 36 counties and natural reserves of four mountain ranges within the territory of Sichuan.

Tourism resources: Sichuan has three World Cultural and Natural heritages: the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, the Huanglong Scenic Area, and Emei Mountain with the Leshan Giant Buddha; nine state-class scenic areas, including the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Qingcheng Mountain, the Sea of Bamboo in southern Sichuan; 11 national forest parks; 40 nature reserves, 44 provincial-class scenic areas. Almost every variety of tourist resources is available here: plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, limestone caves, and even danxia formation.