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Forget Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai, it’s the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai that has been named China’s most liveable city for the past three years. Here’s a little look at why Zhuhai is suddenly making its mark and leaving the competition behind.
Zhuhai sits a mere 187 meters across the water from neighbouring Macau. Among the southern Chinese city’s accolades is overtaking Hong Kong in 2014 as The Most Liveable City in China, keeping this title for three straight years.
The annual report compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences measures criteria like environmental factors, housing prices and economic competitiveness.
In 2013, Zhuhai also ranked first among Westerners’ Top Ten Favourite Cities in China, in addition to being named China’s Most Beautiful City.
Not bad for a city that few people outside of China have even heard of. Although not as famous as its neighbours Hong Kong or Macau, Zhuhai boasts stunning scenery, sunshine, beaches, hot springs, mountains, parks, offshore islands, and a relaxed, romantic atmosphere.
Benefiting from a more leisurely and slower pace of life than most other Chinese cities, Zhuhai is very green with thousands of palm trees that line the promenades along “Lover’s Road”, part of the city’s astonishing 690 kilometres of coastline.
While many cities suffer from poor air quality in China, with hazy pictures of smog frequently featuring in the news, Zhuhai’s air quality is among China’s best. Blue skies and beautiful clouds generate a holiday feeling all year round and the city enjoys a comfortable average temperature of 22°c.
Nicknamed “Hundred-Island City”, Zhuhai is home to 146 small and large islands which are great for island tripping weekends in the summer. The largest of its islands is Hengqin. Roughly three times the size of its neighbour Macau, Hengqin island has been developed into a centre for tourism and leisure in what developers describe as China’s version of a cross between Las Vegas and Orlando.
Among its attractions, Hengqin is home to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom – the largest ocean theme park in the world, owning multiple world records including the world’s largest aquarium.
Other notable attractions include Ocean Spring Resort – a huge spa facility, hotel and theme park with a rare ocean hot spring at its core and numerous scented varieties of hot springs for guests to enjoy. Zhuhai’s most prominent landmark is The Fisher Maiden Statue. Located on the bank of Xianglu Bay, it has become recognised as the symbol of Zhuhai City.
The monument was created in 1982 by Pan He, one of China’s renowned sculptors, and shows a female fisher maiden extending a glistening silver pearl towards the heavens, which is said to manifest enlightenment for people in Zhuhai and beyond the seas.
By the year 2020, Zhuhai has set itself a goal to become an international liveable city with a high standard of living and to display China’s beauty to the world.