Population: 8.2 million.
Urban population: 2.0 million.
Nationalities: Han (83%) , Li (16%), Miao (0.8%), and Zhuang (0.7%).
Area: 33,920 km2
GDP (2007): CNY123 billion
Situated between the 21st and 4th parallels north latitude, Hainan Province has a tropical maritime climate with high temperatures all year round. It is hard to distinguish the seasons. In the South China Sea Islands, the coldest month is February, with an average temperature of 22.9′C; the hottest month is August, with a 29.5′C average. Precipitation is heavy and evenly distributed throughout the year.
Hainan Island, also known as Qiong’ai, is the second largest island in China with an area of 32,000 square kilometers. The parallel Wuzhi and Limu Mountains dominate the central area, taking up one third of the whole island. Lowlands surround the mountains except on the southern coast, where precipices meet the South China Sea. The Qiongzhou Strait separates the Hainan Island from the mainland. Over 20 kilometers wide, the Qiongzhou Strait connects the Beibu Bay to the South China Sea.The South China Sea Islands refer to all the islands, shoals, rocks, reefs, and shallows in the South China Sea. They are Divided into four groups: Dongsha in the north; Xisha in the west; Zhongsha in the center, including Huangyan Island; and Nansha in the south, ending at the Zengmu Reef. The territory stretches 1,800 kilometers from north to south and over 900 kilometers from east to west.
Wuzi Mountains and Limu Mountains, their main peaks are 1,867 and 1,412 meters above sea level, respectively.
Products: Hainan Province’s natural resources include iron, salt, mined in Yinggehai on Hainan Island; petroleum from the South China Sea; minerals from the seabed; tropical plants, and all kinds of aquatic products. Xisha and its neighboring areas are a rich fishing ground. The islands are a haven for birds, whose abundant droppings are collected for natural fertilizer.
Administrative divisions: 3 cities, 9 counties, and 7 autonomous counties.
Neighboring countries: the Philippines in the east, Malaysia and Brunei in the south, Indonesia (Natuna Islands) in the southwest, and Vietnam in the west.
Hainan Province is China’s newest administrative division on the provincial level. It was formally established by the Seventh National People’s Congress in April 1988. Consisting of Hainan Island and the South China Sea Islands, it is the smallest province.
With Mt. Wuzhi (Fiver Fingers) and Mt. Yingge (Parrot) standing at its very heart, Hainan Island has a staircase-like topographic structure descending step by step from towering mountains to flat tablelands and plains at its periphery.
Most mountains on Hainan Island are 500 to 800 meters high, but 81 of its peaks are higher than 1,000 meters. Among those rising 1,500 meters or higher above sea level are Mount Wuzhi, Mount Yingge, Mount Ezong, Mount Houmi, Yajiada Ridge and Mount Diaoluo. These mountains mostly fall into three mountain ranges: the Wuzhi Mountain located in the central part of Hainan Island with its highest peak – also the highest peak on the whole island – at an elevation of 1,867.1 meters; the Yingge Mountain lying northwest of Mt. Wuzhi with its highest peak at an elevation of 1,811.6 meters; and the Yajiada Mountain in the west of the island with its highest peak rising 1,519.1 meters above sea level. Most rivers on the island originated from the central mountainous area, forming a radiating river system. The inland has 154 streams flowing directly into the sea. The total drainage area covered by the three major rivers of Nandu, Changhua and Wanquan accounts for 47% of the island’s territory.
A tropical maritime climate prevails in Hainan, bringing it all-year-round windy but warm days, abundant rainfall, clearly divided dry and wet seasons, frequent tropical storms and typhoons, as well as diversified climatic resources.
Winterless Hainan Island has an annual sunshine time of 1,750 to 2,650 hours, a yearly average temperature of 23˚C to 25˚C, and an average annual rainfall of above 1,600 mm. The wet central part and east coast of Hainan receive more rainfall than the semi-dry southwest coast and other semi-wet areas. Winter and spring are usually dry while summer and autumn produce the wettest seasons.
Hainan Island makes up 42.5% of the nation’s total tropical land, with an average per capita possession of 0.48 hectares of land used for agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery. As a result of such excellent conditions as sunlight, heat and water, farmlands here can be cultivated anytime of the year, and many plants can yield two or three crops a year. Based on their suitability, the land in Hainan Island can break down into seven major categories: that suitable for farming, for rubber planting, for tropical crops growing, for forestation, for livestock breeding, for aquaculture, and for other purposes. Currently, 3.152 million hectares of land in Hainan Island have been cultivated, while 260,000 hectares remain virgin soil, around 90% of which are potential farming lands. Most wastelands awaiting reclamation join together, favorable for large-scale exploitation and tractor-ploughing.
Grain crops, which have the widest distribution and highest yield in Hainan, mainly comprise rice, upland rice, shanlanpo rice, wheat, sweet potato, cassava, taro, maize, Chinese sorghum, millet and beans. Among the industrial crops are sugarcane, hemp, peanut, sesame, tea, etc.
There also exist great variety of both cultivated and wild fruits that come under 29 families and 53 genera. Cultivated commodity fruits consist of pineapple, litchi, longan, banana, plantain, citrus, mango, watermelon, parambola, jackfruit, and the like.
In addition, over 120 kinds of vegetables are grown here. Hainan Island is rich in tropical crop resources. Major tropical crops with large growing area and of high economic value include rubber plant, coconut palm, oil palm, betel palm, pepper, sisal hemp, lemon grass, cashew, cocoa and others.
More than 4,000 kinds of plants grow in Hainan, roughly one-seventh of the nation’s total, of which over 600 are peculiar to this island. Its tropical forests characterized by conspicuous vertical zoning and mixed growth of trees of different species and ages, and with high trunks and broad crowns are mainly distributed over the mountains of Wuzhi, Jianfeng, Bawang, Diaoluo and Limu, with those in the Wuzhi Mountain belonging to rain forests. Forest coverage stood at 55.5% of the province’s total area at the end of 2005.
Hainan is home to over 500 species of terrestrial vertebrates, including 37 kinds of amphibians (of which 11 are only discovered in Hainan, and eight have been listed as animals unique to China), 104 kinds of reptiles, 344 kinds of birds and 82 varieties of mammals (21 of which are peculiar to Hainan). In addition to black-crested gibbon – one of the four anthropoid apes living on earth – and slope deer (Cervus eldi) that are among the rarest species of the world, there are such treasured animals as sambar (Cervus unicolour), macaque and cloud-leopard. By the end of 2005, 15 kinds of wild animals here are under first-class state protection, and 87 under second-class state protection.
By the year end, a total of 68 nature reserves had been established in the province.
Hainan is rich in medicinal herbs. Of the 4,000-odd kinds of plants growing here, about 2,500 can be used as medicinal herbs. Besides, about 50 kinds of animals and marine products can be used to serve medicinal purposes too.
Vast offshore fishing grounds with an area of nearly 300,000 square kilometers, great variety of aquatic products with a short growth period, and long fishing season form the characteristics of Hainan’s aquatic and marine resources turns Hainan into an ideal place to develop tropical marine fishery. There are more than 800 kinds of aquatic products here, including 600-odd fishes, of which over 40 are cash fishes. The province’s coastal beaches that can be used for sea-farming totals up to 25,700 hectares.
Hainan Island is China’s ideal natural saltworks. Salt can be made by evaporating brine in the sun along its long coast stretching for hundreds of miles from Sanya to Dongfang. At present, several large saltworks, such as Yinggehai, Dongfang and Yuya, have been developed.
Hainan is rich in mineral resources. Explorations up to 1991 show that among the 148 minerals with verified workable reserves nationwide, 57 (or 65 if classified based on their potential industrial purposes) are of certain mining value in Hainan. In addition, 126 mineral deposits (including six large groundwater sources) have had their reserves verified. Over 10 varieties of superior minerals produced here hold a very important position in China’s mining industry, including glass-quality quartz sand, natural gas, titanium, zircon, sapphire, crystal, gibbsite, oil shale and zeolite. The reserves of iron ore accounts for roughly 70% of the country’s high-grade iron ore reserves. The reserves of titanium and zircon make up 70 and 60% of the country’s total respectively. In addition, gold, granite and mineral water here are of significant developmental value.
Hainan abounds with oil and natural gas. General survey and exploration have targeted three large sedimentation basins – the Beibu Gulf, Yingge Sea and southeast Hainan – with a total area of around 120,000 square kilometers, of which 60,000 square kilometers prospect well with oil-gas mines. The potential reserves of hydroelectricity on Hainan Island amount to 1 million kilowatts, of which 650,000 kilowatts are expected to generate 2.6 billion kw/h of electricity annually. The volume of groundwater hits about 7.5 billion cubic meters, making up 20% or so of Hainan’s total water reserves, of which approximately 2.53 billion cubic meters are potentially exploitable. Its untapped energy sources with great potentialities include ocean energy, solar energy and bioelectricity.
Distinctive tourism resources abound in Hainan. Sandy coasts take about 50 to 60% of its 1,528-kilometer coastline. The beaches are usually hundreds of or thousands of meters wide, stretching gently into the sea with a slope of five degrees. Located alongside an unruffled sea, with crystal-clear seawater at the temperatures between 18 ˚C and 30˚C, plus bright and abundant sunlight, most of its beaches are good for swimming, sunbath, sand-bath and wind-bath almost all year round. Under the cool shade of the trees, the air is very refreshing too. Over 60 spots dispersed along the eastern coastline between Haikou and Sanya can be developed to bathing beaches. Also lie along the eastern coastline are mangroves and coral reefs that are unique to tropical coastal areas.
Hainan is noted for its singularly-shaped mountains, of which many are tourist attractions and summer resorts. Densely spread tropical primeval forests are characteristic of Hainan’s lofty mountains, such as the four most well-known virgin forest regions of Mount Jianfeng in Ledong County, Mount Bawang in Changjiang County, Mount Diaoluo in Lingshui County and Mount Wuzhi in Qiongzhong County.
To protect rare birds and animals, several wildlife reserves and domesticating fields have been established in Hainan, including the Bawangling Black-crested Gibbon Reserve in Changjiang County, the Datian Slope Deer Reserve in Dongfang County, the Dazhou Isle Esculent Swift Reserve in Wanning City, and the Macaque Reserve on the Nanwan Peninsula in Lingshui County.
Hainan Island is densely crossed by limpid rivers. Winding streams, deep pools, fantastic waterfalls and mirror-like reservoirs dotted in the mountains and virgin forests add beauty to the landscapes and attract tourists.
Historical volcanic eruptions have left many craters on Hainan Island. Two typical craters connected by a caving-in gap-bed ridge are located on Mount Shuangling with an elevation of over 200 meters in Shishan, Qiongshan City. The nearby Leihuling Crater and Luojingpan Crater are also well preserved. In addition, there are a number of karst caves such as the well-known Luobi (Pen-dropping) Cave in Sanya, Qianlong (Thousand Dragon) Cave in Baoting County and Huangdi (Emperor) Cave in Changjiang County.
Hot springs are widely dispersed on the island. Due to their low mineralization, high temperature, big flow and high quality, many of the hot spring waters have curative effects. Furthermore, the hot springs are all located in places with attractive landscapes, providing excellent conditions for developing holiday resorts for combined purposes of tourism, sightseeing, convalescence, and scientific researches.
The island also offer many historical sites, such as the Wugong (Five Revered Officials) Temple in memory of five renowned court officials of the Tang (960-1279) and Song (618-907) dynasties who were relegated to Hainan Island; the Dongpo Academy of Classical Learning and Lord Su’s Temple in commemoration of Su Dongpo, a literary giant of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127); the Tomb of Qiu Jun, a noted official of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); the Grave of Hai Rui, an upright official of the Ming Dynasty; and Mafubo Well dug by General Fubo of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), as said in legends. Other attractions of historical interest include the Ancient Town in Yazhou, the Wei Family Temple, Qiongtai Academy of Classical Learning, and Wenchang Pavilion. There are also revolutionary sites such as the former site of the Qiongya Corps headquarters; memorial statue to the Red Detachment of Women in Jiaji town; Jinniuling Cemetery of Revolutionary Martyrs; Memorial Hall of Baisha Uprising; Ancestral Home of the Song Family; and Mme Soong Ching-ling’s Memorial Museum.
Hainan is the home of the Li as well as many other ethnic groups who still hold to their unsophisticated folk customs and unique living habits, which have made the island even more valuable in culture and tourism.
Farms of tropical crops on the island also present charming pictures of unique rural scenery.