Before you set off on a trip through China, you should find out about the different regions and provinces. These are not only very different in terms of landscape, but also have their own culture to offer.
In this article you will get to know the most famous regions of China and what makes them so special.
China’s 6 main regions
In addition to the provinces, China is also divided into six main regions. This classification is mainly used for statistics and is not used for political or economic reasons.
Basics about the North China region
- Divided into five provinces (including Beijing and Inner Mongolia ).
- sparsely populated with natural wilderness.
- Rice cultivation has been documented for 9,000 years, which is why it is historically very important.
- is also called Huabei.
- should not be confused with traditional North China as a pedant to South China.
- Detailed subpage: North China
Key data on the Northeast China region
- also known as “Manchuria”.
- Bordered by the Great Wall of China and the Heilong Jiang and Ussuri rivers.
- Wetlands, farmland and swamps.
- coldest region of the People’s Republic of China.
- consists of three provinces: Heilongjiang , Liaoning and Jilin .
- largest city is Shenyang.
- Detailed subpage: Northeast China
Basics about the East China region
- is also called Huadong and is known for its classical gardens.
- Division into seven provinces.
- Location of Shanghai , the largest city in the world with 15 million people.
- most densely populated region in the People’s Republic of China.
- China’s most important rivers flow here: Chang Jiang, Huang Hoe and Zhu Jiang.
- Detailed subpage: East China
Key data on the Central and Southern China region
- is also called Zhongnan.
- famous for agriculture.
- many national parks .
- 80 cities with over 500,000 inhabitants.
- predominantly temperate climate.
- There are six provinces here: Guangdong , Guangxi , Hainan, Henan, Hubei and Hunan .
- Detailed subpage: Central and Southern China
Basics about the Southwest China region
- is called Xinan and is considered the most famous region in terms of landscape.
- consists of five provinces, such as Chóngqìng, Sìchuān, Guìzhōu.
- exotic with spectacular landscapes.
- 25 different minorities live here.
- one of the warmest regions in China with an annual average of 29 degrees.
- 25 cities with over 500,000 inhabitants.
- Detailed subpage: Southwest China
Key data on the Northwest China region
- Located inland and crossed by the Silk Road for centuries.
- inhabited by national minorities.
- small population (only 4% of all Chinese) in deserts and mountains.
- one of the coldest regions in China.
- consists of six provinces, such as Gansu, Ningxia Huizu, Qinghai etc.
- 18 cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants.
- Detailed subpage: Northwest China
Depending on the region, people in the People’s Republic of China speak their own dialects. Only the Han speak pure Chinese. However, every 10th resident belongs to one of over 50 other ethnic groups, such as Tibetans, Mongolians, Uighurs or Manchus. What they have in common is the Chinese script for communication, which consists of many thousands of characters.
The various religions in the People’s Republic of China, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity or Confucianism, are also represented differently depending on the region. Most adherents can be found in Buddhism, which has a long history in China and has played a key role in shaping Chinese culture and tradition.
The provinces and regions of China
The locals call their country Zhongguo because the word “China” does not exist in Chinese itself and is a creation of the Europeans. As the largest country in Asia and the fourth largest in the world, the People’s Republic of China is synonymous with electronics, panda bears and rice dishes, among other things. In addition, it is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and an advanced culture of humanity.
Today’s communist-ruled People’s Republic was once an empire. As the “Middle Kingdom” (called Ching-kuo by the Chinese), China was considered by the locals to be the center of the earth – surrounded on the one hand by seas and on the other by “barbarians”. Today, this earlier insight has been proven wrong, but Chinese people still view their country as the highest form of culture and society.
China the country of superlatives
China is without a doubt a country of superlatives: this is where most of the inhabitants live, this is where the third-longest river winds through the country and this is where mountaineers climb the highest mountain in the world. Furthermore, China is the second largest economy in the world and supplies around a quarter of all electronic devices worldwide.
But anyone who only perceives China as a global (and economic) power and people with a penchant for a feeling of great superiority is missing out on many other aspects that this country has, such as a beautiful landscape, a highly acclaimed cultural history, valuable art treasures and many excursion options for holidaymakers . That’s why tourists from all over the world love to come to Asia again and again and experience their dream vacation in the footsteps of the Ming Dynasty.
China is also the country with the largest population. The state regulation of births in recent years has now been dropped. The 1-child policy is therefore abolished. The large population is only noticeable in the capitals near the coast, such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The interior of the country, on the other hand, is rather sparsely populated.
So that not only locals, but also visitors and tourists from all over the world can find their way around the huge country of China better, the division into different provinces is often used. Of course, this was not the main reason for the creation of the provinces many centuries ago, but it was a very useful one.
China’s 22+1 provinces
The 9,597,985 square kilometer country is roughly the size of the USA and is administratively and politically divided into several levels. The top level is made up of the 23 provinces. These include administrative districts, autonomous districts, cities and municipalities. The 23 provinces divided by China have borders that mostly date back to the Ming period.
Area: 139,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 61 million
Area: 120,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 41 million
Area: 450,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 25 million
Area: 180,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 126 million
Area: 170,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 36 million
Area: 34,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 10 million
Area: 90,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 75 million
Detailed report on
Area: 489,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 32 million
Area: 167,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 99 million
Area: 187,400 square kilometers
Population: approx. 58 million
Area: 210,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 67 million
Area: 102,600 square kilometers
Population: approx. 85 million
Area: 167,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 45 million
Area: 187,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 24 million
Area: 145,700 square kilometers
Population: approx. 43 million
Area: 720,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 6 million
Area: 205,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 40 million
Area: 153,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 101 million
Area: 156,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 32 million
Area: 488,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 84 million inhabitants
Area: 394,000 square kilometers
Population: approx. 47 million
Area: 101,800 square kilometers
Population: approx. 65 million
Special case of Taiwan
You often read that China has 23 provinces instead of the 22 listed here. This is because China itself has referred to Taiwan as the 23rd province since 1949. The island of Taiwan was under Chinese rule until 1895 and then under the rule of the Japanese Empire from 1995 to 1945. At the end of the Second World War, Taiwan returned to China.
To this day, Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign state by most countries – including Germany. The island’s status in the Pacific has been in limbo for decades for historical reasons. China’s government in Beijing sees Taiwan as an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China.
So far, Taiwan has governed itself – under the name “Republic of China”. However, Taipei has not yet declared formal independence. In addition, Taiwan does not have diplomatic relations with other countries in the world. As long as Taiwan does not declare independence, China accepts the status quo.
Area: 36,179 square kilometers
Population: approx. 23 million
Directly governed cities of China
China has four directly governed cities:
These are not provinces, but they have the same rank and are subordinate to the central government of the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore, China’s cities with direct governmental ties should not be confused with city states such as Hamburg, Bremen or Berlin.
Autonomous regions of China
As an administrative unit at the provincial level, there are five autonomous regions in the People’s Republic of China: Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Guangxi. Ethnic minorities live in these cities and are granted legislative rights. For example, they have their own local government.
Xinjiang is a well-known autonomous region of the Uighur nationality of the People’s Republic of China. Especially in recent years, there has been an increasing number of negative headlines surrounding this AR in the far northwest with areas populated mainly by Uyghurs, Han and some Mongolians.
Special Administrative Regions of China
Hong Kong is considered a special administrative region of China with limited presidential democracy and is, strictly speaking, a partially administered region of China, which has its own judicial, executive, legislative and tax systems.
Macau is another limited presidential democracy and is considered a special administrative region of China. It has its own legislation (influenced by China), a tax system, customs and police, and a currency independent of China
Shanghai – cosmopolitan, international and a little glamorous
As the largest city in China, Shanghai stands for cosmopolitanism and glamour. International guests confirm that the exciting city is a cosmopolitan city and everyone is happy to see past the omnipresent smog. Skyscrapers, gigantic buildings, around 20 million.
Residents – Shanghai impresses with its size. But not only – it also offers a unique mix of history and high-tech. Chinese and Western lifestyles meet here and combine to create an exciting Far East feeling.
Beijing – more than 3000 years old and full of energy
If you want to travel to Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, you should be prepared for anything. Because history is being written here and has been for over 3000 years. At every corner, visitors will find culturally and historically valuable treasures, photogenic views and bustling life.
Beijing, as the Chinese call their capital, is home to over 21 million people, many of whom own bicycles. Therefore, be careful when exploring the city: the bustling hustle and bustle of Beijing residents is initially a shock for Western Europeans. With a little patience, every visitor will quickly realize that Beijing is a melting pot of the past and the dawn of the future and full of energy that is contagious.
More than just a climate
Due to China’s special size – over 9 million square kilometers! – and the huge north-south stretch as well as the enormous differences in altitude, the climate is wide-ranging and varied. 18 out of 30 climate classifications can be found in the People’s Republic of China, so that the country has a share in almost all climates on earth. From the cold northeast to the warm southwest, temperatures, amounts of precipitation and duration of sunshine vary greatly.
In China, visitors will find monsoon climates, hot, humid marginal tropics, dry desert climates, cool mountain climates – in short, a wide spectrum, which makes it difficult to define an optimal travel time for China. However, the months of May and June as well as September and October are definitely recommended for a tour, as there is little rain and the tourist season is not at its peak.
From the Yellow Sea to the Himalayas – the mountainous geography of China
China is a mountainous country. Two thirds of the area is higher than 1000 meters above sea level. The most famous mountain is Mount Everest with its impressive 8,848 meters. The land surface slopes in several steps towards the Pacific coast. The highlands of Tibet represent the highest landmass, while the lowland areas are in the east of China.
As the longest river in China and all of Asia, the Yangtze is listed in geography reference books at 6,300 kilometers. The large fluctuations in water levels as it travels through 19 provinces are partly regulated by reservoirs. The consequences of the past summer drought can also be felt on the mighty Yangtze River: the water level is falling, the electricity produced by hydropower has to be reduced and companies are reducing their production.
As the fourth largest country in the world, the People’s Republic has everything: steppes, deserts, highlands, jungles, mountains, rivers and lakes. The different geographical regions cover the country and make it appear almost uniquely diverse. In addition to the huge Himalayan mountains, there are moist jungles in the south and large, flat plains with equally large rivers in the west.
China’s special party system
China is one of five remaining countries in the world with a communist one-party system. The party – Communist Party of China (German abbreviation CPC) – and the central government is based in Beijing, the capital of China. The claim to leadership of the Communist Party with its more than 90 million members is firmly anchored in China’s constitution. Other political organizations and parties must always subordinate themselves to the goals of the CCP.
China as a country of contradictions
The social and economic development of the People’s Republic of China has developed rapidly in recent years and decades. Those who didn’t believe it before now know better: China has power and influence. But the contradictions that this country harbors are also beyond question. On the one hand, you can see smog in all major cities, human rights violations are denounced and, on the other hand, many innovations and investments in the future come from the same country.
The world’s largest investments in energy production from solar, wind and hydropower are faced with a rigid authoritarian government system. Where low-wage workers once stood at the workbench, today people work in a high-tech country that is unparalleled in the world. See topschoolsintheusa for doing business in China.
“Made in China” is no longer a synonym for cheap plastic products and poor quality. There are now a variety of electronic products (e.g. cell phones) that are produced and sold by top manufacturers in China. China is also in great demand as a pure manufacturing country. Manufacturers of premium brands like to have their products manufactured here because they save on labor costs.