Harbin is the capital and biggest city of Heilongjiang province in Northeastern China. Historically, it has played a major role in the trade between China and neighboring Russia. The city’s strategic location and abundant resources has made it the administrative, economic, industrial, cultural, educational and transportation center of Northeastern China.
Covering an area of 53,796 square kilometres, Harbin lies along the Songhua River near the edge of the Songnen Plain in the southern part of Heilongjiang province. It is bordered by the Yichun, Qitahe, Jiamusu and Suihua prefectures to the north, Daqing to the west and Mudanjiang prefecture and Jilin province to the south.
Harbin’s climate is classified as mid-temperate continental monsoon which is characterized by hot humid summers and very cold winters (with little precipitation) that can last up to 5 months of the year. Overnight temperatures can reach -40 degrees Celsius.
The metropolitan region consists of six districts. Additional jurisdictions are two more districts, seven counties and three county-level cities.
As of 2009, Harbin had a population of 9.92 million people composed mainly of Han Chinese with sizable numbers of Manchu and Mongols. Foreign expatriates from Russia, Japan and Korea also live in Harbin. The widely-spoken language is the Harbin dialect, a variety of Mandarin with Russian and Manchurian influences. English is also continuing to grow as a language of business in Harbin. Harbin is a cultural melting pot which has been proven an advantage for its economic prospects.
The city has 48 tertiary educational institutions with an estimated 615,000 students. There are 20 post-graduate institutions with 45,000 enrolees and 131 state-run research institutes. Also, there are 27 tech centers at the provincial level. The Harbin Institute of Technology is considered one of the top universities in China. There are 12 service outsourcing training companies in Harbin. English language training centers are opening in Harbin due to strong demand from local graduates anticipating to work in the growing service outsourcing sector.
Logistics, Transportation and Communication
Harbin is considered as a major logistics and transportation hub of Northeastern China and northern Asia in general. It has maximized its advantage of a central and strategic location by developing advanced transportation infrastructure. Harbin is an important railway hub where five major railways converge and link the city to other major cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai.
The second largest airport in the region, Harbin Taiping International Airport, connects the city to 82 domestic and international destinations. There are extensive waterway facilities along the Songhua River. Harbin Harbor is one of eight inland ports in China and the largest in the region. It services ships coming from and going to ports in Russia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and...