Shantou, with geographical coordinates 116.46′E and 23.21′N, is located on the East of Guangdong Province at the crossing of the Tropic of Cancer and the North end of the South Chinese Sea. Shantou totals an area of 2,064 sq/km with an urban area of 292.5 sq/km – 234 sq/km of which being a Special Administrative Region. By an account in 1993, the population of the whole city was 3,881,200.
Shantou administrates five county-level districts of Longhu, Jinyuan, Shenping, Dahao and Hepu District, together with Nan’ao County. It is also entrusted with the governing of two county-level cities of Chaoyang and Chenghai. Shantou has a sub-tropical maritime climate, with an annual average temperature of 21.3 degrees, 2,100 sunshine hours, relative humidity 82%, and an approximate precipitation of 1700mm.
Shangou City became a treaty port in 1861, one of the earliest treaty ports in Southern China. Being good businessmen, Chaoshan people have made Shantou a name of “Centenarian Port” in China and across the world in international trades as well as import/export industries.
Culturally, Chaoshan culture and Chinese culture are closely knitted. Due to its geographical environments and location though, there is a subtle, local, touch. An obvious example is its “Kung-fu” Tea, with its special containers and method of brewing, has undoubtedly become a standard of the way of the Chinese tea. Yet the classy and light coloring of the Chaoshan tea, which comes with a theme of fresh sea creatures and vegetables, catering for the call of health and taste, has won the praises of the world.
Chaoshan dramas and operas are delicate arts. Over 100 operas are being played round the clock around the world where there are Chaoshan people, allowing Chaoshan culture to take roots in and out of China. According to statistics, the number of professional drama theatrical troupes have exceeded 60, while there are over 30 of similar drama groups in Southeast Asia.
Education has developed rapidly in Chaoshan City. World renowned industrailist Mr. Li Ka-shing has donated and helped developed Shantou University. The University is comprised of the Faculties of Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Fine Arts, among others, allowing the Chaoshan younger generation to receive higher education, indeed a blessing to the Chaoshan people. Now Chanshan city has 1 full-time senior high school, 9 post-secondary colleges, 3 technical colleges, 7 adult high schools, 160 regular secondary schools, 32 adult secondary professional institutes and vocational secondary schools, and 853 elementary schools.
The main products of the Shantao Special Administrative Region are light industries in the chemical, medical, textile, mechanical, and electronic sectors. In agriculture, it is mainly animal husbandry, water planting, fruits and vegetables, and food processing. There is a tax preferred value-added processing region in the newly planned Southern Shantou Region, developing mainly high technology products to attract foreign and overseas Chinese investments, promoting to external markets.
Urban Shantou has seen its directions of development well established, being commercial financial district, industrial development district, port district, agricultural district, residential district, and tourism district, etc. In the urban area one would find over 100 15-storey or up high-rises and buildings, improving living conditions, winning in Year 1992 the “50 Overall Strength Chinese Cities” from Chinese City Evaluation Centre.