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Gao-Ji seawall, Four main road bridges, the Jimei, Xiamen, Xinglin and Haicang Bridges, and one undersea tunnel, Xiangan Tunnel, link Xiamen Island with the mainland.

The main forms of public transportation in Xiamen are bus and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Xiamen's Bus Rapid Transit system features a dedicated bus-only closed road system with stations and ticketing system similar to light rail. Most of the 115 kilometres (71 mi) BRT network consist of bus lanes along expressways and elevated BRT viaducts on Xiamen Island. BRT routes have no traffic lights and travel speed is limited by design to 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph). Five BRT routes are currently in service: BRT-1 Route, BRT-2 Route, Huandao Avenue BRT Route, Chenggong Avenue BRT Route and Connecting BRT Route. The fare is 0.6 RMB per km for the air-conditioned buses. The BRT is supplemented by 20 shuttle bus services that connect nearby places to the BRT stations. The shuttle bus service has a flat rate of 0.5 RMB. Fare discount is available when pre-paid e-card is used.

Taxis can be easily hailed in most areas of the city. Bicycles are commonly used by residents, especially on Xiamen Island. Unlike most Chinese cities, motorcycles and mopeds are not permitted in Xiamen. . On the small island of Gulangyu off Xiamen Island, automobiles are also banned.


The Fuzhou-Xiamen and Zhangzhou-Xiamen Express Highways link Xiamen with the highway network of Fujian and the neighboring provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Zhejiang. There are also container freight services available between Xiamen and Shenzhen and Hong Kong.[18]


Xiamen is served by the Yingtan-Xiamen Railway, Longyan-Xiamen Railway and the Fuzhou-Xiamen High-Speed Railway, which are connected to China's national railway network. Direct passenger trains are available from Xiamen to Shanghai, Nanjing, Hefei, Fuzhou, Nanchang and Yingtan. The completion of the Xiamen-Shenzhen High-Speed Railway by 2013 will expand train service to destinations to the west and southwest.

The Xiamen Railway Station on the island of Xiamen is connected to the mainland by a railway bridge.

The Xiamen North Railway Station is located in Jimei District.

The Xiamen Gaoqi Railway Station is located in Huli District.[19]


The Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport on the island of Xiamen is a main air hub in East China with flights to over 60 domestic and international destinations. Among airports in China, Gaoqi ranked among the top 11 for passenger traffic, top 8 for cargo traffic and top 10 for air traffic. It can handle 27 million passengers and 666,666 tons of cargo annually. The airport is the headquarter hub of Xiamen Airlines.

Xiamen has direct flights to most major cities in China and the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. Flights to Amsterdam, Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, and Singapore, connect Xiamen with large communities of southern Fujian's overseas diaspora. The city also direct flights to international commercial hubs Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, Seoul and Amsterdam, which commenced on 29 March 2011. Xiamen also has direct flights to Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung on Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait. Some Taiwanese travelers will fly to nearby Jinmen and take the ferry to Xiamen.

Gaoqi Airport is located on the northern coast of Xiamen Island. A cab ride from downtown to the airport can take as little as ten minutes.


Passenger Ferry

Xiamen has passenger ferry service to cities along the coast of China as well as the neighboring island of Jinmen (Kinmen) to the east, which is administered by the Republic of China on Taiwan. From the main International Ferry Terminal, also called the Dongdu Terminal, on the southwest side of Xiamen Island, ferries to Jinmen take 90 minutes. From the Wutong Ferry Terminal on the northeast side of the Xiamen Island, ferries to Jinmen take 60 minutes. Both terminals offer numerous ferries per day. The Heping Wharf Ferry Terminal on the southwest side of Xiamen Island offers short boat rides to the island of Gulangyu.

Xiamen Port

The Port of Xiamen is a large deepwater port situated on the northern part of Xiamen Island. It has an excellent natural harbour and well connected to the mainland by road and rail. The Port of Xiamen has since the early 1980s been one of the busiest in China.[19] In 2011, the Port of Xiamen ranked among the top 18 ports in the world for container freight.

The natural coastline in the port area is 64.5 kilometres (40.1 mi) while the water is over 12 m in depth. There are 81 berths for vessels of large, medium or small tonnage, including 16 deep-water berths, of which 6 operate containers of over 10,000 tonnes. Among other cargoes handled, Xiamen is the world's largest supply base for raw tungsten materials.[18] It is the world's largest sunglasses manufacturing base, exporting 120 million pairs each year.[18]

Xiamen is also an important base in Fujian province for making medium-sized and large modern container vessels and yachts[18]


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"Amoy" redirects here. For other uses, see Amoy (disambiguation).
For other uses, see Xiamen (disambiguation).
Sub-provincial city
Haicang Bridge
Motto: 温馨城市·海上花园 (Comfortable city, oceanfront garden)

Location of Xiamen City jurisdiction in Fujian
Location in China

Coordinates: 24°28′47.41″N 118°05′21.91″E / 24.4798361°N 118.0894194°E / 24.4798361; 118.0894194Coordinates: 24°28′47.41″N 118°05′21.91″E / 24.4798361°N 118.0894194°E / 24.4798361; 118.0894194

Country People's Republic of China
Province Fujian
6 districts
 • Sub-provincial city 1,699.39 km2 (656.14 sq mi)
 • Urban 264.3 km2 (102.0 sq mi)
 • Metro 3,217.98 km2 (1,242.47 sq mi)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Sub-provincial city 3,531,347
 • Density 2,100/km2 (5,400/sq mi)
 • Urban 1,861,289
 • Metro Xiamen-Zhangzhou Metro area(including Xiamen city, Zhangzhou City and Longhai City)5,114,758
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 361000
Area code(s) 592
GDP 2012
 - Total CNY 281.707 billion (USD 44.79 billion)
 - Per capita CNY 77,392 (USD 12,260)
 - Growth Increase 12.1%
License plate prefixes D
Local dialect Min Nan: Amoy dialect

Xiamen (Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕjâmə̌n]), also known as Amoy /əˈmɔɪ/,[1] is a major city on the southeast (Taiwan Strait) coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of 1,699.39 square kilometres (656.14 sq mi) and population of 3.67 million. Its built up area is now bigger than the old urban island area and covers all six districts of Xiamen (Huli, Siming, Jimei, Tong'an, Haicang and recently Xiang'an). It borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou making this a unique built up area of more than five million people. The Jinmen (Kinmen) Islands administered by the Republic of China (Taiwan) are less than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.

Xiamen and the surrounding southern Fujian countryside are the ancestral home to large communities of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. The city was a treaty port in the 19th century and one of the four original Special Economic Zones opened to foreign investment and trade when China began economic reforms in the early 1980s. It is endowed with educational and cultural institutions supported by the overseas Chinese diaspora. In 2006, Xiamen was ranked as China's second "most suitable city for living",[2] as well as China's "most romantic leisure city" in 2011.[3]

City name

The area where Xiamen now exists was known as Tong'an (Chinese: 同安; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâng-Oaⁿ) in some Han Dynasty records, though the area was not significantly settled by Han Chinese until several centuries later. Xiamen Island itself was known as Jiahe-Yu (Chinese: 嘉禾屿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ka-hô-sū) up until Ming Dynasty General Zhou Dexing built the "Xiamen Castle" on the island in 1387 AD to defend against Japanese pirates.[4]

Originally, the name Xiamen was written "下門" (pinyin: Xiàmén; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ē-mn̂g; literally "lower gate", BP: Êbbńg), possibly referring to its position at the mouth of the Nine Dragon River. The Zhangzhou dialect of Min Nan reads these characters as "ε̄-mûi", the source of the name "Amoy". The dialect is still spoken in the west and southwest of the city. Later, the authorities found "下門" too unrefined and changed the name to the modern toponym "廈門", which has the same pronunciation in Mandarin—not in Min Nan, however—and literally means "The Gate of the Grand Mansion". The name continues to be pronounced Ē-mn̂g in Min Nan, effectively using the older name.


During the early Jin Dynasty, the place was made Tong'an County (同安縣) in 282. During the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), the city was a seaport open to foreign trade. The Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031–1095) spent some of his youth there while his father was a local bureaucrat on the government staff.

In 1387, the Ming Dynasty built a fort in Xiamen, then part of Quanzhou, to guard against pirates. After the Manchu Qing Dynasty overthrew the Ming in 1644, Ming loyalist Koxinga, used Xiamen as a base to launch counterattacks against the invading Manchus from 1650 to 1660. In 1656, he named Xiamen Island, Siming (思明洲), or "Remembering the Ming". In 1661, Koxinga drove the Dutch from Taiwan and moved his operations there. The Manchus renamed the island Xiamen. The city was renamed by the Manchus in 1680 to Xiamen Subprefecture. The name "Siming" was changed back after the 1912 Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Qing Dynasty and the settlement was made a county. Later it reverted to the name Xiamen City. In 1949, Xiamen became a provincially administered city (省辖市), then was upgraded to a vice-province-class city (副省级市), or a municipality. Today, Siming is the name of main city district of downtown Xiamen.

In 1541, European traders (mainly Portuguese) first visited Xiamen, which was China's main port in the nineteenth century for exporting tea. As a result, Hokkien (also known as the Amoy dialect) had a major influence on how Chinese terminology was translated into European languages. For example, the words "Amoy", "tea" (茶; tê), "cumshaw" (感謝; kám-siā), and "Pekoe" (白毫; pe̍h-hô), kowtow (磕頭; khàu-thâu), and possibly Japan (Ji̍t-pún) and "ketchup" (茄汁; kiô-chap) originated from the Hokkien.

During the First Opium War between Britain and China, the British captured the city in the Battle of Amoy on 26 August 1841. Xiamen was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanking (1842) at the end of the war. As a result, it was an early entry point for Protestant missions in China. European settlements were concentrated on the islet of Gulangyu off the main island of Xiamen. Today, Gulangyu is known for colonial architecture and the tradition of piano-playing and organized sports.

Many natives of Xiamen and southern Fujian emigrated to Southeast Asia and Taiwan during the 19th and early 20th century, spreading Hokkien language and culture overseas. Some of the diaspora later returned to fund universities and cultural institutions in Xiamen. An estimated 220,000 Xiamen residents are returning overseas Chinese and their kin.[5] Some 350,000 overseas Chinese trace their ancestry to Xiamen.[5]

During World War II, Xiamen was occupied by Japan from May 1938 to September 1945. In the Chinese Civil War that followed, the islands of Xiamen and Gulangyu were captured by Communist forces in October 1949 but an assault on the island of Jinmen was repelled by Nationalist defenders. The battle line of the war remained in the narrow channel between Xiamen and Jinmen. In 1955 and 1958, mainland China escalated Cold War political tensions by shelling offshore islands held by Taiwan including Jinmen in what became known as the First and Second Taiwan Strait Crisis. The Nationalists responded by reinforcing Jinmen and shelling Xiamen. Due to political tensions, the eastern half of Xiamen Island and much of the Fujian Coast facing the offshore islands remained undeveloped in the 1960s and 1970s.

When China began to reform its economy, Xiamen was made one of the original Special Economic Zones in 1980, to attract foreign investment, particularly from overseas Chinese.[6] The city grew and prospered from foreign investment and trade. In 2001, the governments of mainland China and Taiwan agreed to initiate the "Three Mini-Links" and restored ferry, commercial and mail links between the mainland and offshore islands. Trade and travel between Xiamen and Jinmen was restored and later expanded to include direct air travel to Taiwan. In 2010, travelers between Xiamen and Jinmen made 1.31 million trips.[7]

In 1999, the largest corruption scandal in China's history was uncovered in Xiamen, implicating up to 200 government officials. Lai Changxing is alleged to have run an enormous smuggling operation, which financed the city's football team, film studios, largest construction project, and a vast brothel rented to him by the local Public Security Bureau. According to Time, "locals used to joke that Xiamen should change its name to Yuanhua, the name of Lai's company." They subsequently claimed that potential investors were discouraged by the taint of corruption.[8]


Xiamen comprises Xiamen Island (longitude 118° 04' 04" E, latitude 24° 26' 46" N), Gulangyu Island, and part of the rugged mainland coastal region from the left bank of the Jiulong River in the west to the islands of Xiang'an in the northeast. The city centers on Xiamen Island, which is divided between Huli District and Siming District (which also encompasses Gulangyu). The city's four other districts, Haicang, Jimei, Tong'an and Xiang'an, are all located on the mainland.

The Gaoji (Gaoqi-Jimei) Causeway built in 1955–1957 transformed Xiamen Island into a peninsula, and so it was termed in the heady propaganda of the time.

Just east of Xiamen Island are the Jinmen Islands, also spelled "Kinmen" and known as "Quemoy". At their nearest points, Greater Jinmen is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Xiamen Island and Lesser Jinmen, also known as Lieyu, is about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away. The Republic of China based in Taiwan govern the Jinmen Islands.[9]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: CMA[10]

Xiamen has a monsoonal humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), characterised by long, hot and humid summers (but moderate compared to much of the rest of the province) and short, mild and dry winters. The warmest month is July, with a 24-hour average of 27.8 °C (82.0 °F), and oddly, the coolest month is February, averaging 12.4 °C (54.3 °F); the annual mean is 20.42 °C (68.8 °F). Spring, both by humidity and percentage of sunshine, is the dampest season but typhoons in late summer and early autumn can make the latter period wetter overall. Summer and autumn are marked by comparatively sunny conditions, while autumn is warm and dry. The annual rainfall is 1,350 millimetres (53 in). Frost occurs very rarely, and the last snowfall in the city took place in January 1893, when snow also fell at Guangzhou, Macau, in the inland parts of Hong Kong and in the hills of Taipei.


According to the 2010 Census, Xiamen has a population of 3,531,347 inhabitants, almost 1.8 times the population counted for the last census in 2000 (which was of 2,053,070 inhabitants). The annual average population growth was of 5.57% for the period 2000–2010.[11]


The sub-provincial city of Xiamen has direct jurisdiction over 6 districts ( qu). The information here presented uses data from 2010 Census.

Subdivision Pop. Area Dens.
English Simplified Traditional Pinyin POJ 2010 km2 /km2
Xiamen City Proper
Huli District 湖里区 湖里區 Húlǐ Qū O-li Khu 931,291 73.77 14,782
Siming District 思明区 思明區 Sīmíng Qū Su-being Khu 929,998 83.99 12,740
Xiamen Suburban and Rural
Haicang District 海沧区 海滄區 Hǎicāng qū Hai-chhng Khu 288,739 186.46 1,863
Jimei District 集美区 集美區 Jíměi Qū Chip-bi Khu 580,857 274.29 2,105
Tong'an District 同安区 同安區 Tóng'ān Qū Tang-uaN Khu 496,129 669.36 754
Xiang'an District 翔安区 翔安區 Xiáng'ān Qū Siong-an Khu 304,333 411.50 865

The districts of Siming and Huli form the Special Economic Zone.

In May 2003, Gulangyu Island (Kó-lōng-sū) and Kaiyuan District were merged into Siming District, Xinglin District () was merged into Jimei District, and Xiang'an District was created out of a section of Tong'an District.



Xiamen has a diverse and well-developed economy. Primary economic activities include fishing, shipbuilding, food processing, tanning, textiles, machine tool manufacturing, chemical industries, telecommunications and financial services. The city has economic and trade relations with 162 countries and regions worldwide, and benefits from foreign investment, particularly capital from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In 2008, a total of 356 projects with foreign direct investment had been approved in the city, with a contractual foreign investment amount of US$1.896 billion and an actual foreign investment amount of US$2.042 billion.[12] In 1992, Xiamen was ranked among the top 10 Chinese cities in relation to comprehensive strengths with its GDP increasing by an average of over 20% annually. In 2008, Xiamen's GDP amounted to 156 billion Yuan, an increase of 11.1% over the previous year; and the per-capita GDP was 62,651 yuan (US$9,017). Further economic reforms were introduced, and this brought the total volume of imports and exports in 2008 to US$45.4 billion, while that of exports totalled US$29.4 billion.[12]

Xiamen is also the host of the China International Fair for Investment and Trade held annually in early September to attract foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland.

Xiamen has excellent road, rail, air and port infrastructure. In the last few years, Xiamen has invested more than RMB30 billion in infrastructure construction.

Financial services

Xiamen has highly developed banking services. The biggest bank is the state-owned commercial bank, Sino-foreign joint venture Xiamen International Bank, and solely foreign-funded Xiamen Bank.

Various foreign banks that have established representative offices in Xiamen.

There are more than 600 financial institutions in operation in Xiamen.

Industrial Zones

Xiamen Export Processing Zone is located in the south part of Haicang Development Zone only 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) from Haicang Port Area, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Gaoqi International Airport and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Haicang railway station. It has a favorable geographical location and well-developed transportation network, especially sea transportation. It has a total planned area of 2.4 square kilometres (0.93 sq mi) with 1.46 square kilometres (0.56 sq mi) for the first phase. Industries encouraged in the zone include Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals Production and Processing, Heavy Industry, Instruments & Industrial Equipment Production, Medical Equipment and Supplies, Research and Development, Shipping/Warehousing/Logistics, Telecommunications Equipment, Trading and Distribution.[13]

Xiamen Haicang Taiwanese Investment Zone is situated to the southeast of Xiamen Island, at the tip of the Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou Delta in South Fujian bordering Zhangzhou City to the west, Jimei District to the north, and overlooking Xiamen Island across the narrow water. The 100-square-kilometer Haicang Taiwanese Investment Zone is the largest national Taiwanese investment zone authorized by the State Council in 1989. It is situated close to Xiamen Port.[14]

Xinglin Taiwan Merchants Development Zone was approved to be established on 20 May 1989 by the State Council. The planned area is 19.36 square kilometres (7.47 sq mi) and the current area is 12.5 sqkm. The zone is located in Jimei, Xiamen. The main industries set up in the zone are chemistry, machinery, textile and electronics. The zone is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the 319 National Highway.[15]

Torch Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone was approved by the State Council as one of China's national level high-tech industrial development zones in March 1999. In 2001, the zone became the first to achieve 10 billion yuan per square kilometer target output level. It is located close to Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport.[16]

In 1992, Xiamen Xiangyu Free Trade Zone is established and approved by The State Council. The overall planning area is 0.63 square kilometres (0.24 sq mi). In 2008, there are 1100 enterprises in this park. Industries encouraged in the zone include Electronics Assembly & Manufacturing, Garment and Textiles Production, Trading and Distribution, Research and Development, Shipping/Warehousing/Logistics.[17]


Local transportation

Xiamen and its surrounding countryside is known for its scenery and tree-lined beaches. Gulangyu, also known as Piano Island, is a popular weekend getaway with views of the city and features many Victorian-era style European edifices. Xiamen's Botanical Garden is a nature lover's paradise. The Buddhist Nanputuo Temple, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, is a national treasure. Xiamen is also famous for its history as a frontline in the Chinese Civil War with Taiwan over Jinmen (also known as Jinmen or Quemoy) 50 years ago. One attraction for tourists is to view Kinmen, a group of islands a few kilometres away and under Taiwanese control, from Xiamen island.

Xiamen University is a beautiful campus with old traditional buildings and a tranquil lake outside the foreign language department. Nowadays the University is open to anyone, though some form of registration may be needed during peak holidays. To avoid long registration procedure, you may enter the university from three smaller gates which are across the Baicheng beach.

Water Garden Expo Park has a planning area of about 6.76 km2 (2.61 sq mi) (land area of 3.03 km2 (1.17 sq mi)), which consists of five exhibition park islands, four ecological landscapes islands and two peninsulas, including the main pavilion, Chinese Education Park, Marine Culture Island, Spa Island and other functional areas and related facilities


The local vernacular is Amoy, a dialect of Southern Min, also called Hokkien. Amoy is widely used and understood across the southern region of Fujian province as well as overseas. While it is widely spoken in and around Xiamen, the Amoy dialect has no official status, and the official language of all government business is Mandarin. Xiamen is famous for South Music, Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, puppet show, Gezi Opera and temple celebration events.


Gulangyu in Xiamen is an island of 1.78 square kilometres (0.69 sq mi). It is also called "Piano Island" by locals. Piano music drifts from the villas and lingers throughout the island's narrow streets, many famous Chinese musicians hail from Xiamen. Every May there's an international music festival, and piano competitions and music festivals are also frequently held. On Huangyan Lu, on the way to Sunlight Rock, there's a concert hall where classical concerts are regularly held on weekends.


Xiamen Wushipu oil painting village has been named as “the second of the world oil painting industry base” and the second batch of national cultural (art) industry base” by the China artist association and the culture property department of Culture Ministry.

Xiamen has strong industry advantage in hand painted oil painting, which has two main manufacturing bases here, Xiamen Wushipu Oil Painting Village and Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village. 80% market shares in European and American market is taken up by products exported from Xiamen.[20] As the main manufacturing base of hand painted oil painting in China, Xiamen Wushipu Oil Painting Village has more than 5,000 artists. It has the ability to produce all kinds of oil paintings with different specifications and styles. With the support of Xiamen Municipal Government, it has formed a powerful industrial chain, provided related accessories such as frames, brushes and paint colors and formed stable target customers composed by hotels, villas, high-class departments, galleries and so on. As another mail manufacturing base of oil painting, Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village has more than 3,000 painters. The scale of Xiamen Haicang Oil Painting Village has developed rapidly in recent years, which is from originally 28 enterprises to more than 250 enterprises at the moment. The combination of manufacturing, sales and distribution makes it become industrial base of commercial oil painting.


Xiamen is served by Xiamen Media Group, which broadcasts news and entertainment such as movies and television series by AM/FM radio, close circuit television and satellite television. Media in Xiamen were temporarily blocked by the Government in June 2007 when about 10,000 people participated in protests against the building of a paraxylene factory by Tenglong Aromatic PX (Xiamen) Co. Ltd., which is owned by Taiwanese businessman Chen Yu-hao.[21] The incident, however, was solved smoothly later that year.


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