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County-level city
Centre of Kunshan
Centre of Kunshan
Kunshan is located in Jiangsu
Location in Jiangsu
Coordinates: 31°19′19″N 120°59′06″E / 31.322°N 120.985°E / 31.322; 120.985Coordinates: 31°19′19″N 120°59′06″E / 31.322°N 120.985°E / 31.322; 120.985
Country People's Republic of China
Province Jiangsu
Prefecture-level city Suzhou
Divisions 10 towns: Bacheng, Dianshanhu, Huaqiao, Jinxi, Lujia, Qiandeng, Yushan, Zhangpu, Zhoushi, Zhouzhuang
 • Party Secretary Xu Huimin (徐惠民)
 • Total 927.68 km2 (358.18 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 1,681,387
 • Density 1,800/km2 (4,700/sq mi)
 • Permanently residing 699,885
 • Temporarily residing 981,502
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal Code 215300
Area code(s) 0512
Vehicle registration plates 苏EM, 苏EP, 苏EN, 苏EX
Website www.ks.gov.cn
Traditional Chinese 崑山
Simplified Chinese 昆山

Kunshan (Chinese: 昆山; pinyin: Kūnshān; Wade–Giles: K'un-shan; Wu: Khuonsae) is a satellite city in the greater Suzhou region. Administratively, it is a county-level city within the prefecture-level city of Suzhou. It is located in the southeastern part of Jiangsu province, adjacent to Shanghai Municipality. The total area of Kunshan is 921.3 square kilometers. The population of Kunshan is 1.647 million (by 2010). The household population is 730,000.

Kunshan is regarded as one of the most economically successful county-level administrations in China. The GDP has grown substantially from around 20 billion yuan in 2000 to 300.1 billion yuan (approximately US$47.08 billion) in 2014,[1] becoming the first county-level city with gross domestic products exceeding 300 billion yuan. The GDP per capita reached US$28,533 based on its permanent population account (1.65 million as of 2014).[2] It was ranked first in the "25 Best County-level Cities in China" study by Forbes China for the sixth year running in 2014.[3][4] With an immigrant population larger than the number of its permanent residents, Kunshan is the winner of the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award 2010 along with Singapore and Vienna, the most prestigious award given by the United Nations in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development, for its innovative approach to granting migrants the right to essential services in the city.[5] It also carries titles and awards such as a National Hygiene City,[6] the Excellent Tourism City of China,[7] and the National Garden City,[8] as well as the National Model City of Environment Protection and the National Model Zone of Ecology.[9]

Political divisions[edit]

Kunshan is divided into ten towns:


Kunshan has a capital-intensive and export-oriented economy. Its growth has been heavily relying on foreign direct investment and exporting.[10] As of 2006 the city is locally known as "Little Taipei" due to the influx of businessmen from Taiwan.[11] The pros and cons of it economical success has been the controversial subject of a nationwide debate as against an internal-driven mode of economical development pioneered by Shunde, Guangdong.[12]

Partial list of businesses[edit]

  • AMI China, a subsidiary of American Megatrends, is headquartered in Kunshan.[13]
  • Avery Dennison, a manufacturer of specialty tapes, engineering films, and other items, has a factory base in Kunshan.
  • Compal has its major notebook manufacturing factories in Kunshan that takes OEM orders from Toshiba, Dell, Fujitsu, and Hewlett-Packard.
  • Foxconn, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry in the Mainland China and a contract manufacturer that makes iPod, iPad and iPhone, has its production facilities in Kunshan.
  • Goodbaby International, the juvenile products company has iits main base of operation and factory facilities in Kunshan.
  • Giant Bicycles, the cycling equipment manufacturer, which bills itself as the world's largest bicycle manufacturer, established its mainland subsidiary in Kunshan in 1992 as the Giant Co. Ltd., China.
  • Lamican, or Lamipak, a manufacturer of laminated paperproducts for the liquid-packaging industry.
  • Liftex Corporation, a lifting equipment manufacturer, has a synthetic sling, cargo control and wire-rope/chain sling factory in Kunshan.
  • Olivet International, a manufacturer of luggage, has a factory, warehouse, and showroom in Kunshan.
  • Shimano, the Japanese cycling, fishing and rowing equipment manufacturer has one of its major plants in Kunshan.
  • Snap-on tools also has a presence within China through Kunshan.
  • Sunrider
  • Wistron Corporation, the world's second laptop contractor and the manufacturing arm of Acer Inc., which was spun off in 2000, has one branch of its research, manufacturing and service centres established in Kunshan.[14]
  • [Nan Ya] Plastic Corporation is a Taiwanese company producing polyester industrial yarn and other polyester fibers.
  • Green Tower Kunshan, a platform for clean technology companies to enter Chinese clean technology market opened its doors for tenants on the 16.5.2013

Kunshan's economy is in a phase of transition from "capital-driven" to "innovation-driven", and from "Made in Kunshan" to "Designed in Kunshan". This is reflected in the Synthesised Evaluation of Innovative Competence of County-level Cities co-organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC and the Chinese Academy of Science, in which Kunshan has topped out for four consecutive years by 2010.[15]

National ranking[edit]

The National Statistics Bureau of China published the league table for "Top 100 Best Developed County-Level Economies in China" (中国县域经济百强县) annually from 2001 to 2006 (also in 1992, 1994, and 1996), which terminated in 2007. Kunshan consistently climbed up the ladder (24th in 1992, 11th in 1994, 9th in 1995, 3rd in 2001 and 2003, 4th and 2nd in 2002 and 2004 respectively), and settled on the top of the table ever since. (2005 and 2006).[16]

The China County-level Economy Research Institute (中郡县域经济研究所) has been publishing the ranking table "Evaluative Report of the Basic Comptetiveness and Scientific Development for Nationwide County-level Economies" (全国县域经济基本竞争力与科学发展评价报告) annually since 2001. Kunshan is constantly ranked tied-first in this table from 2007 onwards till 2010.[17]

Industrial zones[edit]

  • Kunshan Economic & Technical Development Zone (KETD) was founded in 1985, and was upgraded by the State Council to a state-level development zone in 1992. KETD is in the south of Yangtze River Delta, with Shanghai to its east and Suzhou to its west. KETD has spent over RMB 13 billion on the public infrastructure in roads, telecommunication, water supply, energy and environmental protection. The distance to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is 20–50 km; it is less than 10 km from national highway G312.[18]
  • Kunshan Export Processing Zone was established on April 2000 upon approval from the state government. It is in Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone and it has a planned area of 2.86 square km. In the zone, there are electronic information, optical, precision machinery industry and bonded logistics industry clusters. It enjoys convenient transportation: It is 45 km from Shanghai Pudong Airport and 60 km from Shanghai Port.[19]

Culture and arts[edit]

Kunshan is culturally significant as the origin of Kunshan diao, the melody which ultimately evolved into Kunqu, one of China's eldest extant theatre arts, which has been listed as one of the World Intangible Culture Heritages by UNESCO.[20]


Statue of Gu Yanwu in Tinglin Park

Notable people[edit]

Kunshan is the birthplace of Fei Junlong (one of the two Chinese astronauts on the 6th mission of the Shenzhou space program) and IT entrepreneur, An Wang. In history, famous figures include Zu Chongzhi, Gong Xian, Gu Yanwu, Gui Youguang, and Zhu Bailu.


Duke University and the city of Kunshan in collaboration with Wuhan University have partnered to build Duke Kunshan University, with classes scheduled to begin in 2014.[22][23] Duke's Fuqua School of Business will lead the first phase, which will focus on non-degree executive education programs, a pre-experience management training master's degree, training of Ph.D. students and the recruitment of top faculty.[24]



  • The nearest airport is the Hongqiao Airport, around 55 km away in west Shanghai, with a driving distance of 45 mins from the Yushan town centre.
  • The Pudong International Airport is 105 km away in east Shanghai, accessible via motorways within 90 mins.




A motion made to construct two metro railways running through the city centre was passed by the Jiangsu provincial government.[26][27] Kunshan is the first county-level city with metro railway system. Line 11, Shanghai Metro has been extended to Kunshan in 2013. An extension of Line 3, Suzhou Rail Transit to Kunshan has also been proposed.


  • Einar Tangen: Cities of China – Kunshan. The Kunshan Way. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2010; ISBN 978-7-119-06432-1.


  1. ^ 昆山统计信息公众网 ("Kunshan Public Statistics Information Portal")
  2. ^ 昆山统计信息公众网 ("Kunshan Public Statistics Information Portal")
  3. ^ http://www.forbeschina.com/review/list/002232.shtml
  4. ^ http://shanghaiist.com/2014/12/23/kunshan-forbes-china-county-level-city.php
  5. ^ "the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award 2010". Unhabitat.org. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  6. ^ 中华人民共和国卫生部 ("Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China")
  7. ^ 中华人民共和国国家旅游局 ("National Bureau of Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China ")
  8. ^ 中华人民共和国建设部 ("Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People's Republic of China")
  9. ^ 中华人民共和国国家环境保护部 ("Ministry of Environment Protection of the People's Republic of China")
  10. ^ "把脉昆山外向型经济发展". Unn.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2012-03-13. [dead link]
  11. ^ Gifford, Rob. "Things Flow." China Road. 35.
  12. ^ "Shunde vs Kunshan". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. 
  13. ^ "International Offices." American Megatrends. Retrieved on May 6, 2009. "American Megatrends Information Technology (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. Room 501, #3 Building, No. 177, Chang Jiang Road(Middle) Kun Shan City, Jiang Su Province, China 215301" Archived April 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ 纬创全球营运据点 (Global Operation, Wistron Corporation)
  15. ^ 中国昆山 ("Kunshan Government Portal, China")
  16. ^ 国家统计局 ("The National Statistics Bureau of China")
  17. ^ 中国县域经济网站 ("China County-level Economies Website")
  18. ^ "Kunshan Economic & Technical Development Zone". Rightsite.asia. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  19. ^ "Kunshan Export Processing Zone". RightSite.asia. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  20. ^ "Kun Qu Opera, UNESCO". Unesco.org. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  21. ^ Szablewicz, Marcella (March 2016). "China's E-Sports Paradox". Slate Magazine. 
  22. ^ Laura Oleniacz (2014-08-14). "Duke Kunshan University campus in China nears opening". heraldsun.com. The Herald Sun. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  23. ^ "Duke Names Senior Leadership for Its Campus in China" The Chronicle of Higher Education Sept 20, 2012 [1]
  24. ^ "Duke News". Dukenews.duke.edu. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  25. ^ 关于京沪高速铁路与沪宁城际铁路昆山段具体走向及站点设置的说明 ("Regarding the tracks alignment and the stations on the Kunshan section of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway and the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity Railway ..."), including a track map
  26. ^ "省政府关于昆山市城市总体规划的批复". Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  27. ^ "昆山市城市总体规划 (2009—2030)". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 

External links[edit]