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Downtown Wuxi
Downtown Wuxi
"Wuxi is full of warmth and water"
Location of Wuxi Prefecture within Jiangsu
Location of Wuxi Prefecture within Jiangsu
CountryPeople's Republic of China
County-level divisions9
Township-level divisions73
 • CPC Municipal SecretaryMao Xiaoping (毛小平)
 • MayorMao Xiaoping (毛小平)
 • Total4,787.61 km2 (1,848.51 sq mi)
 (2010 Census)
 • Total6,372,624
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard Time)
Postal code
Urban center: 214000
Other Area: 214200, 214400
Area code(s)510
License plate prefixes苏B
GDP (2009)CNY 499.2 billion
 - per capitaCNY 81,151
Local DialectWu: Wuxi dialect

Wuxi (simplified Chinese: 无锡; traditional Chinese: 無錫; pinyin: Wúxī; former spellings: Wu-shi, Wushi, or Wu-hsi; lit. "Without Tin"; Shanghai dialect: [ɦuɕiɪʔ]) is an old city in Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China. Split in half by Lake Tai, Wuxi borders Changzhou to the west and Suzhou to the east. The northern half looks across to Taizhou across the Yangtze River, while the southern half also borders the province of Zhejiang to the south. Wuxi earned its nickname "Pearl of Lake Tai" because it's built on the shore of Lake Tai in a scenic setting. Wuxi was also dubbed "little Shanghai" because of its close proximity to the city, rapid urbanization and booming economy. Wuxi also has a history of business people involved in modern Shanghai commerce since the early 20th century.


Although Wuxi means "No tin", scholars suggest the city name may come from "Wuxu" (吳墟), meaning ruins of the State of Wu, or a Baiyue word which may mean "god bird".[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Zhou Dynasty

Wuxi was founded 3,000 years ago by two fugitive princes, Taibo and Zhongyong, of the Zhou from Central China, who intended to give their brother Jili (季歷) the throne. The two princes settled down in Meili (梅里), which is believed to be today's Meicun, Wuxi. (some historic records indicate a location somewhere in today's Suzhou). They helped developing local agriculture and waterways. The area soon flourished. After the death of Taibo,who had no heir, the emperor of Zhou enthroned a descendant of his family king of the State of Wu. The king named his kingdom "Gowu". Taibo's shrine was set up in today's Meicun and the original wood structure was destroyed during the wars over the course of history. However, it has been renovated several times and today's architecture dates mostly to the Qing dynasty. A stone carved with sayings by Confucius can still be seen in Taibo Shrine.

Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period

The State of Wu became one of the strongest kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period. Sunzi (Suntzu), who wrote the famous "the Art of War" came to Wu and helped the king with his military affairs. Wu was considered one of the seven strongest kingdoms during this period[citation needed]. Some of Sunzi's descendants still live in Sunxiang in Wuxi near the Plum Garden. However, Wu was later defeated by the State of Yue, today's Zhejiang and Fujian, which in turn was overthrown by the State of Chu and incorporated into Chu during the Warring States Period.

Qin and Han Dynasty

The cultural and economic center of the "Wu" area shifted to Suzhou after the reign of the first Qin Dynasty emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who united China; Wuxi at that time belonged to Suzhou. During the Han dynasty, Wuxi was set up as a county by emperor Han Wudi. Historic records show that tin was discovered during the early Han era, leading to conflicts in the area. Soon, however, the tin was depleted. This is generally believed to be the origin of the name Wuxi, meaning "no tin." Recent scholarship has brought this explanation into doubt, however. It is claimed that "Wu" is one of the auxiliary suffixes common in the local dialect. This is similar to referring to Suzhou as "Gusu" and Wu as "Gowu". The name was changed to Youxi (有錫), meaning "having tin", during the Wang Mang conflicts period because Wang wanted to change the name.

Six dynasties, Tang and Song Dynasties

Agriculture and silk industry flourished in Wuxi especially after the construction of the Grand Canal. Although Suzhou became a bigger center of the Wu area, Wuxi is still important in the county of Wu.

Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties and on

Agriculture, with rice and fish as major products, and industry continued to develop then in the early 20th century, Wuxi became a center of the textile industry in China and one of the four most important rice markets nationwide. During the period between 1900 and 1940, Wuxi was considered a most important county in China. In dramatist Cao Yu's well-known drama "Thunderstorm", Wuxi was mentioned several times with a comment "Wuxi is a good place". After the People's Republic of China was set up by communists in 1949, Wuxi continued to grow in importance, with the establishment of more textile production and both light and heavy industry. This city was considered the second most important city in Jiangsu Province after the capital Nanjing. However, its developmental model has been criticized for the environmental deterioration caused. New strategies are now under consideration to ensure its sustainable development.


The city plan, as is typical of many older Chinese cities, is of a central city with a roughly circular plan, crisscrossed with older canals, the main canal still seeing heavy barge traffic.

Wuxi itself is on an alluvial plain of deep sedimentary deposits cut between limestone foothills, making it one of the sources for "scholar's rocks", the intricately weathered stones which were used as devices for contemplation.


Wuxi is hot and humid in summer and chilly and damp in winter, with an average annual temperature of 18 °C and very occasional snow. Because of its proximity to the East China Sea, it has a monsoon season and receives 100 cm of rain annually.

Climate data for Wuxi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 47.3
Source: MSN Weather[7]


According to the 2010 Census, the prefecture-level of Wuxi has a population of 6,372,624, 1,192,777 inhabitants more than in 2000 (the average annual population growth for the period 2000-2010 was of 2.09%).[8]


File:IMG 0153 old.JPG
Old Town and Canal

The prefecture-level city of Wuxi administers nine county-level divisions, including 7 districts and 2 county-level cities. The information here presented uses the metric system and data from 2010 Census.

English Name Simplified Traditional Pinyin Area Population Density
Chong'an District 崇安区 崇安區 Chóng'ān Qū 18 228,854 12,714
Nanchang District 南长区 南長區 Náncháng Qū 22 378,490 17,204
Beitang District 北塘区 北塘區 Běitáng Qū 32 336,844 10,526
Xishan District 锡山区 錫山區 Xīshān Qū 396 681,300 1,720
Huishan District 惠山区 惠山區 Huìshān Qū 327 691,059 1,215
Binhu District 滨湖区 濱湖區 Bīnhú Qū 567 688,965 1,215
Wuxi New District 无锡新区 無錫新區 Wúxī Xīnqū 219 536,807 2,451
Jiangyin City 江阴市 江陰市 Jiāngyīn Shì 987 1,594,829 1,616
Yixing City 宜兴市 宜興市 Yíxīng Shì 2,177 1,235,476 568

The Wuxi New District is part of the Binhu District but has its own administrative committee dealing with its affairs. These districts are sub-divided into 73 township-level divisions, including 59 towns and 24 subdistricts.


Wuxi Modern Area

Currently Wuxi is designated an investment grade city, and has two large industrial parks devoted to new industry. While current manufacturing centers on textiles, there are projects to move to electric motor manufacturing and MRP software development. Most recently there has been a movement toward the solar city of China with two big solar companies (STP and JHL) listed on overseas stock exchanges.

A major push has been made by the Wuxi government to become a leader in new energy industries. According to the most recent figures (2002) from local government, 24% of economic activity is textile trade, and another 25% is industrial based manufacturing, including motors, molds and casting, with another 8% being light industry.

In 2008 new energy industries were worth 37.8 Billion RMB, with the solar photovoltaic industry accounting for 30.2 Billion RMB of the total.[9] The GDP per capita was ¥81,151 (US$11,885) in 2009, ranked second in Jiangsu Province, less than Suzhou but more than the capital city Nanjing.

Wuxi is one of the top business cities in China. According to Forbes ranking, Wuxi is in the third position for best business cities in Mainland China in 2008.

The center of the city is filled with modern high rise buildings and the market is being redeveloped in a postmodern style. Hynix completed a new chip plant in Wuxi.[10]


  • Wuxi New District

Since it was established in 1992, Wuxi New District (WND) has evolved to be one of the major industrial parks in China. A wide variety of components, sub-systems and original equipments are made in WND. Approximately 1200 enterprises have been registered in WND by the end of 2008. Wuxi New District provides strong support for international manufacturing operations. The Zone focuses on formation of the five pillar industries of electronic information, precision machinery and mechanical and electrical integration, bio-pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and new materials.[11]

  • Wuxi Export Processing Zone

Established in 1992, Wuxi Export Processing Zone is located in Wuxi New District with a planned area of 2.98 sqkm. The encouraged industries include electronic information, optical-mechanical-electronic-integration, precision machinery, and new materials. It is situated near to Wuxi Airport and Changzhou Port.[12]


File:IMG 0248 Yu.JPG
Wuxi Painter Yu Wenshan c. 1658, landscape With Western Influenced Perspective

As an important city for the "Wu" area, its culture bears distinctive characteristics, which can be identified in its dialect, architecture, waterway transportation and various art types.

It was one of the art and cultural centers of "Jiangnan", with several famous Chinese authors claiming Wuxi as their home town. Among them, most recently, Qian Zhongshu, author of Fortress Besieged, a comedy of manners set in China in the 1930s. Wuxi was the birthplace of the famous Chinese (later American) artist Chen Chi (1912—2005), in whose honor a museum has been erected in the city.

One of the handicraft specialties of Wuxi is the production of Huishan clay figurines.

In modern times Wuxi has produced a number of cultural figures such as Hua Yanjun (1893–1950) also known as "Blind Abing" (瞎子阿炳), famous for his erhu and pipa music. Another famous musician is Liu Tianhua, who was the first to compile folk music using staff.


Wuxi is known for its Wuxi-style spare ribs, sweetened pork dumplings and fried gluten.



Wuxi is situated on the Nanjing-Shanghai Railway, linking it directly with the provincial capital of Nanjing (1.5 hours train-ride) and China's economic hub, Shanghai (45 minutes train-ride) and the fifth biggest economic hub and tourist destination Suzhou (24 minutes train-ride). K-series[disambiguation needed] trains all stop at Wuxi.

Air transport

Wuxi Airport, which opened in 2004, is situated 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from the city centre and has direct flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Osaka.

Expressways and highways


National highways:

Provincial roads:


The nine peaks of Huishan, in Xihui Park on the western outskirts of Wuxi, are said to be the sleeping sons of the legendary Dragon King.

The humor of Wuxi natives is well-known. A popular joke is that "they can sell you meat that is really bones and they sell you dumplings that are just air inside", i.e. Wuxi pork ribs and Wuxi fried tofu dumplings, which are hollow. Some consider this trait untrustworthy.

One of the most noted folklore stories is about Wuxi traditional pork ribs. It was said that the ribs were created by a peasant Lu Xiaosheng. His wife was ill but he was poor. One day she wanted to eat pork. Lu went to buy some ribs which he cooked by wrapping them in a "Po Gao Jian" (lit. damaged haulm cushion). The taste of the ribs was so good that his wife immediately recovered from her illness. People say that the cushion was used by a beggar who happened to be a god. Lu then began to sell the pork ribs, and became rich and famous for the brand "Old Lu's Gao Jian".


Nanchan Temple and Pagoda

Wuxi is a major tourist area of the Lower Yangtze Delta. It has both natural and man-made places of interest.

Lake Tai

The city was built on the shore of Lake Tai with the lake providing a rich tourism resource. Noted spots include Yuantou Zhu (the Islet of Turtlehead) and Taihu Xiandao (Islands of the Deities).

Star of Lake Tai

Completed in 2008, this 115-metre (377 ft) tall Ferris wheel takes 18 minutes to complete one revolution. Passengers can enjoy the scenery of Lake Tai and the city center. At night, lighting effects are switched on around the wheel.[citation needed]

Mount Xi and Mount Hui

Literally "Tin Mountain" and "Kindhearted Mountain", Mount Xi and Mount Hui are two small hills located in the western part of the city. The classic royal Ji-chang-yuan Gardens are located at the foot of the hill as well as the Tianxia di er quan (天下第二泉), literally "the second spring under heaven"). Xi Shan is also a name for a tourist area located in Suzhou. Because two separate Chinese characters are both pronounced "Xi": one stands for "West", the other (in this case) is for the metal material tin.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal passes through the city. There are two canals: one is the old canal that has been there since it was excavated, the other is the new canal created after 1949.

Wuxi has many private gardens or parks built by learned scholars and rich people in the past. Among these, Li Yuan, Mei Yuan are good examples that have been well preserved. Xihui Gongyuan (Xihui Park), located at the foot of Xi Shan also houses historical relics, notably Jichang Garden. It is about 1,770 kilometres (5,810,000 ft) in length.

Grand Buddha at Ling Shan

Located south of the Longshan Mountain, near Wuxi's Mashan Town, the 88 metres (289 ft) tall Grand Buddha at Lingshan is one of the largest Buddha statues in China, and the ninth tallest statue worldwide.

Huishan Ancient Town

Built during 16th - 19th century A.D., the town is located in the north-west part of Wuxi on the west bank of the Grand Canal and at the foot of Mount Hui. The town's buildings are mainly family ancestral halls.

Film and television District

Located in the western part of Wuxi, the district consists of Wuxi Three State City Park, Tang City, and Shuihu City. Established in 1987, it was the first Movie and TV film studio in China.

Shan Juan Cave

Located in Yixing (part of Wuxi), Shan Juan Cave is a 4-star scenic zone. The Chinese Romeo and Juliet, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai were said to study behind the cave.

Chen Chi Museum

This museum honoring the famous 20th century painter Chen Chi includes a small collection of his works.

Other historical places

The former Residence of Xue Fucheng, Former Residence of A Bin, Former Residence of Xu Xiake, Site of Luotuo Dun, Taibo Temple and Tomb, and Donglin Shuyuan. These historical places are protected by the city government.

Sports and stadiums

Wuxi has two stadiums. The old stadium is in the southern part of the city and has yet to reopen. The other is Wuxi New Stadium, which consists of a swimming stadium, soccer stadium and other facilities. It is located in the south-west part of the city, near Lake Tai.

Wuxi new stadium


Universities and colleges

High schools

Notable people

  • Gu Kaizhi (later half of the fourth century), a painter.
  • Li Sheng (772-846), poet, who lived and was buried in Wuxi.
  • Gu Xiancheng (顧憲成, 1550–1612), scholar and politician, especially well-known in the "Dong Lin Movement".
  • Xu Xiake (1587–1641), Ming Dynasty traveller and writer.
  • Hua Hengfang (1833–1902), mathematics in late Qing Dynasty who did studies in various area of science and technology. He participated in designing the first streamer and the first steamboat in China.
  • Xue Fucheng (薛福成, 1838-1894), well-known ideologist, diplomat and one of leading exponents for national bourgeoisie reform in the late Qing Dynasty.
  • Rong Desheng (荣德生, 1875–1952), the largest national capitalist in the Republic of China era, most noted for his contribution to the Chinese textle industry.
  • Rong Yiren (1916–2005), Rong Desheng's son, the powerful "Red Capitalist", the capitalism-communist, Vice-President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 1998.
  • Abing (1893–1950) folk musician, best known for his work "Er Quan Ying Yue" (moon reflected on Er stream) for the erhu.
  • Xu Beihong (1895–1953), painter, most noted for his paintings of horses.
  • Qian Zhongshu (1910–1998), writer, best known for his comedy of manners Fortress Besieged.
  • Chen Chi (1912–2005), internationally famous painter
  • Lu Yaochen (吕尧臣, 1941-), Chinese art master, famous Zisha (purple clay teapot) master, born in Yi Xing.
  • Ding Junhui (1987-), Snooker player.
  • Zhou Yongkang (1942-), senior Communist Party of China leader
  • Jimmy Wang Yu (1943-), Chinese actor who appeared in the Shaw Brother's One Armed Swordsman. His movie, the Chinese Boxer (1969) is credited with being the first Hong Kong martial arts film that kick started the unarmed combat genre that took Asia by storm in the 197


International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Wuxi is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ (In Chinese) Origin of the name "Wuxi" (“无锡”地名的由来)
  2. ^ 而今现在(2006-05-01 00:00:00 ~ 2006-06-01 00:00:00档案)
  3. ^ 无锡市
  4. ^ 无锡
  5. ^ 考“无锡”地名的由来
  6. ^ 无锡地名典故
  7. ^ "MSN Weather". June 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  8. ^ (in Chinese) Compilation by LianXin website. Data from the Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China
  9. ^ China Business News http://thechinaperspective.com/articles/wuxicitywantsroleingreenenergy6391/index.html
  10. ^ Hynix completes new chip plant in China
  11. ^ RightSite.asia | Wuxi New District
  12. ^ RightSite.asia | Wuxi Export Processing Zone
  13. ^ [1]

External links