17.04.2013 12:18

Xi’an – China’s Middle Kingdom – Part 1

Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi province with a population of about 8.5 million, is also one of the four great ancient capitals of China and has more than 3,100 years of history.

Most who know of Xi’an have heard of the city’s Terracotta army. Their construction was overseen by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who wanted these statues to protect him in his afterlife. The emperor was buried with them around 210-209 BC.

Transportation and logistics in Xi’an also dates far back in history: the city, then called Chang, marked the eastern terminus of the Silk Road’s northern route.

Today the Xianyang International Airport (XIY) is China’s eighth busiest airport in terms of passengers and the 13th busiest in terms of cargo. Covering an area of five square kilometres, it is the largest airport in China’s northwest.

The new terminal 3 and a second runway were opened on May 3, 2012.  The new terminal alone can handle 22 million passengers a year, twice as many as the other two terminals combined. Another interesting detail is that, at 3,800 meters long, the second runway is large enough to handle an Airbus 380.

However, Xi’an nowadays is much more than its history. The area’s reasonably low land cost makes it fruitful for construction projects and offers a relatively low cost of living. At the same time, a large population of university graduates provides companies with human capital. The city has one of the highest percentages of educated adults in China, with roughly 100 higher education establishments generating around 200,000 graduates each year.  Xi’an’s high-tech and software student population have given a boost to the local gaming industry. The city is a home to the world’s largest internet bar that houses an astounding 3,000 computers.

According to the state-issued 2009 "Guanzhong - Tianshui Economic Zone Development Plan," Xi'an is listed after Beijing and Shanghai as China’s third "international metropolis.” Its urban population is expected to exceed ten million by 2020. The city’s rapidly diversifying economy gives evidence of its dynamic industrial and technological growth. Over the past decade, Xi’an has founded eight development platforms, including the Xi’an Hi-Tech Industries Development Zone (XHTZ), the Xi’an National Civil Aviation Industrial Base, the Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park and the Xi’an Software Park.

Finnair and Finnair Cargo’s Helsinki – Xi’an – Helsinki service will operate three times per week starting June 14, 2013.