Zhongshan, known as "Xiangshan" in ancient times, is the hometown of Sun Yat-sen and many other great men. The city is situated in the south-central part of the Pearl River Delta and western coast of the Pearl River Estuary in Guangdong Province, connected to Guangzhou to the north and adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao. Covering a total area of 1783.67 square kilometers, with a permanent population of 3,142,300 and a population of over 800,000 overseas Chinese and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots, Zhongshan has maintained the 5th position in Guangdong in economic aggregate for consecutive years. In short, Zhongshan is a modern city with harmonious society, prosperous economy, beautiful environment and high levels of well-being.
Economy of Zhongshan developed in a more stable manner. Zhongshan had improved the quality and efficiency of economic development markedly by adapting to the new normal of China's economy and adopting a combined strategy for higher quality and enhanced efficiency. It was estimated that the GDP of Zhongshan would reach about 350 billion yuan, with the per capita GDP exceeding 100,000 yuan and the per mu (1 mu = 667m2) GDP reaching about 120,000 yuan. All these figures ranked among the top in Guangdong. According to the Global Urban Competitiveness Report jointly released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and UN-Habitat, Zhongshan ranked 4th in sustainable competitiveness and 5th in economic competitiveness in the Pearl River Delta. The proportion of the advanced manufacturing industry added value over the above-scale industries added value reached 44.6%, while the figure for heavy industry was 41.6%. The proportion of modern service industry added value over the service industry added value was 61.3%. These indicated a better economic structure. Outstanding achievements had been made in attracting investment: 4 ten-billion-level projects had been contracted; the total number of investment projects, investment amount and number of started projects increased by 274%, 115% and 137% respectively. Zhongshan's key projects at provincial and city levels beat the target, in which the investment played a key role. In addition, market entities became more active, with 73,000 new market entities, up 21.4%. Driven by stronger financial support, the number of listed and on-board enterprises recorded 102. As agricultural modernization advanced steadily, 36,000 mu of high-standard basic farmland had been built. Vegetables exported to Macao accounted for 50% of the local market, and four major Chinese carps (namely black carp, grass carp, silver carp and bighead carp) exported to Hong Kong and Macao accounted for 40% and 70%, respectively, thus ensuring food security.
There was a stronger impetus for innovation. Zhongshan had seen continuous improvement in comprehensive innovation capacity by pursuing innovation-driven development as the core strategy and implementing a package of policies and measures with a focus on building a regional research and development center for scientific and technological innovation. It was estimated that the R&D spending would account for 2.4% of the GDP, ranking top in Guangdong. Furthermore, the number of valid invention patents recorded 5,456, an increase of 35.2%. The construction of the Pearl River Delta National Independently Innovative Demonstration Zone accelerated. Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone was approved as the national demonstration base for innovation and entrepreneurship and Tsuihang New District was approved as the provincial one. The 2017 Guangdong "Innovation and Entrepreneurship" Week was hosted in Zhongshan. The construction of innovation platforms was accelerated as well. High-end research and development platforms such as Israeli Innovation Center and Innovation Center of University of Chinese Academy of Science set up headquarters in Zhongshan, and the "Artificial Intelligence Innovation Center" of HIT Robot Group was established. The number of innovation platforms above the provincial level increased to 385. Since the innovation capability of Zhongshan enterprises had been continually strengthened, the number of high-tech enterprises recognized by the government doubled and was expected to exceed 1,700. All 500-million-yuan-level industrial enterprises had established research and development institutions. The integration of science, technology and finance was accelerated. The number of venture capital funds increased to 45 with a total capital scale of 12.8 billion yuan. The risk sharing "Zhongshan mode" of patent pledge financing was promoted nationwide. More efforts had been put in talent cultivating and introduction: the "18 new talent policies" had been unveiled; the number of experts entitled to government allowance of the State Council increased to 39; a total of 26 people were included into national and provincial key talent projects; the number of scientific research team for innovation and entrepreneurship at provincial and city levels increased to 39; the number of post-doctor work platforms increased to 43; the number of professional and technical personnel reached 204,000; and Liang Jiawei, a teacher from Zhongshan Technician College, won the gold medal for Information Network Cabling at the 44th World Skills Competition. According to the China Urban Scientific and Technological Innovation and Development Report (2017), Zhongshan ranked among the top 20 cities in China and ranked the 4th among prefecture-level cities in terms of science and technology innovation and development index.
The urban construction had been improved. Adhering to the principle of planning in advance, Zhongshan's Adjustment Plan for the Overall Planning on Land Use had been approved by People's Government of Guangdong Province. In terms of urban development, Zhongshan had been practicing group-based development strategy and following the development mode of "one center with four groups". Zhongshan planned to build 9 industrial platforms and introduced 68 projects, with a total investment of 64.5 billion yuan. Meanwhile, the construction of transport infrastructure had been promoted in an all-round way: new high-speed rail links had been built to connect Zhongshan directly to dozens of large and medium-sized cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, Guiyang, Nanning, Zhengzhou, Kunming and Changsha, and the Zhongshan section of Nansha Port Railway had commenced construction; Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge had started full-scale construction; Zhongshan-Kaiping Expressway, Eastern Outer Ring Highway and Western Outer Ring Highway had commenced construction, while the construction of the Third Phase of Guangzhou-Zhongshan-Jiangmen Expressway and Xiangzhou-Zhuhai Expressway had been accelerated; the length of expressways under construction reached 215 kilometers, which exceeded the total length of expressways built over the past years; the southern section of national highway G105, Zhongshan-Tanzhou Highway and other six major highways had begun construction, Xingjiao Road and Xuanlang Road (Phase II) had been open to traffic, Changjiang Road, Kanghua Road and Jingguan Road were under construction, and cross-border roads such as South Baozhu Road in Tanzhou and Huicai Street had been completed and opened to traffic; 5 dead end roads including Cuisha Road, North Fukang Road and South Dasha Road were put into use; the new passenger terminal of Zhongshan Port had started construction, and the water passenger route from Zhongshan to Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport had been launched. Zhongshan had also been accelerating the construction of characteristic towns: Dachong Town became a national characteristic town; Dongsheng town was included in the China sport and leisure characteristic town pilot program; 3 characteristic towns became the demonstration sites for Guangdong characteristic towns; and several city-level characteristic towns were launched. Zhongshan accelerated the construction of infrastructure concerning energy and information, and the construction of several power projects, including the Wenshan power transmission and transformation project. It was estimated that Zhongshan's fiber-to-the-home rate would reach 135%. Zhongshan had completed 30 renovation projects for old towns, factories and villages and revitalized more than 10,000 mu of idle land. The city also launched a campaign to improve the city appearance, and made significant progress in the comprehensive improvement of the urban and rural environment.
Zhongshan had been further deepening reform and opening-up. It conscientiously implemented the requirements of the central and provincial government on comprehensively deepening reform, and carried out 118 reform tasks in key areas and links. As supply-side structural reform had been further deepened, a total of 105 state-owned "zombie enterprises" were disposed, backward production capacities (76 million meters) in printing and dyeing industry were eliminated, and the leverage ratio of financial institutions were kept at a reasonable level. By taking comprehensive measures such as reducing the tax burden on enterprises and reducing or exempting some administrative fees, Zhongshan reduced the cost for all enterprises by 12.42 billion yuan and advanced 206 projects to strengthen its weak links. Zhongshan also intensified its efforts to streamline administration and delegate more power to lower-level governments. It canceled 24 administrative licensing items and 11 administrative approval items for intermediary services and delegated 144 economic management authorities to Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Tsuihang New District. Following the principle of reducing procedures, materials, preconditions and time limit for approval, Zhongshan reduced 386 conditions and 212 links of administrative approval. Besides, Zhongshan carried out a campaign to reduce unnecessary certifications and formalities for the convenience of the people, during which 145 certifications concerning enterprise and civil affairs were canceled. Zhongshan managed to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of government services by integrating efficient market and effective government, formulated a number of enterprise-benefit measures including "ten policies on the real economy", "ten policies on industrial land", one-stop connection for public technical services, and "housekeeper" services for enterprises, developed navigation system for enterprises, held 112 symposiums for enterprises at city and town levels, so as to help enterprises to solve problems. In the meantime, Zhongshan deepened its commercial system reform by implementing the policy of integrating multiple certifications and licenses into one consolidated business license for business registration. It achieved remarkable results in "Internet + government affairs": 98.8% applications filed online have been perfectly handled with a concluding rate of 99.7%, ranking top in Guangdong. Zhongshan reached milestones in the construction of social credit system - the city completed its public credit information management system and took the lead in connecting the system with online service hall and other systems, realizing online instant credit verification. It deepened price reform by lowering the maximum price of natural gas supplied through pipelines for non-residents and the tiered rates of natural gas supplied through pipelines for residents. It deepened comprehensive rural system reform, and completed 127% of tasks assigned by the Guangdong Government by issuing certificates for 94.7% of lands with confirmed rural land contracted management right. It actively implemented China's Belt and Road Initiative, and expanded its economic and trade activities to cover more than half of the countries and regions. Moreover, Zhongshan had made remarkable progress in foreign trade: imports and exports reached 258.15 billion yuan, an increase of 15.4%; new approved foreign direct investment increased by 104%; and the foreign investment in actual use increased by 7.4%. As the customs clearance environment at port of entry had been constantly optimized, Zhongshan's single-window system for international trade and commerce (standard version) had been put into service and the information platform for customs clearance supervision had covered all harbor districts of Zhongshan, greatly improving the customs clearance efficiency for enterprises. Zhongshan also conducted external exchanges more frequently. For example, it successfully held the 2017 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation Forum - Summit for the Development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the 11th Worldwide Zhongshan Association Convention, and Swiss-Chinese Friendship Day.
The city's human settlement environment was further optimized. Zhongshan resolutely guarded ecological environment, focused on implementing rectification requirements proposed by the central environmental protection inspectors, "declared war" on water pollution, air pollution and soil pollution, and had been rated as "excellent" in the Guangdong environmental protection responsibility assessment for ten consecutive years. Efforts were made to build more and better green space. For instance, four wetland parks and three sports parks such as the Cuihu Lake in Tsuihang New District and the Central Binhe Wetland Park in Guzhen were built; Jinjishan Park, Children's Park, Guxianglin Park, Jinzhong Lake Park, Meteorological Park started construction; the upgrading and renovation of children's facilities in Zimaling Park were completed; and four waterfront scenic belts along the Qijiang River, including the Dragon Boat Cultural Park, were completed. Solid progress had been made in afforestation and beautification of urban and rural areas. A total of 3,430 mu of forest was improved, and more than 140,000 trees of different types were planted. Nanlang, Banfu, Guzhen and Nantou had successfully established "Guangdong Forest Towns", the number of which ranking first in Guangdong. Caobian Village in South District was rated as model beautiful village jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other departments. Efforts had been intensified to control water pollution, including the establishment of a three-level (city, town and village levels) river length system, the remediation of 115 inland streams, the remediation of 8 polluted rivers in urban areas, and the comprehensive treatment of key areas of the Qijiang River basin. Efforts had also been strengthened to control air pollution, including the establishment of the Zimaling Atmospheric Monitoring Super Station, the standard-reaching PM2.5 concentration, the removal of 4,475 yellow-label cars, the promotion of 1,023 new energy automobiles, the establishment of 513 charging stations and piles, and the completion of the first unified common factory for the furniture industry in Guangdong. Construction of environmental protection infrastructure was accelerated. Construction of the capacity expansion project concerning the central and the northern garbage treatment bases started, and the southern garbage treatment base was put into operation. Totally 723 garbage houses in the central urban area were renovated, and 13 decentralized rural sewage treatment projects were put into trial operation. In accordance with the rectification requirements proposed by the central environmental protection inspectors, 47 livestock and poultry farms and 124 illegal drinking water projects were cleared up, thus a number of prominent environmental problems were solved. Since the concept of green production and life had been deeply rooted in the hearts of local people, Zhongshan was included in the third batch of pilot low-carbon cities in China.
Zhongshan people's well-being had been further improved. Sticking to the principle of all for people, Zhongshan continued to ensure and improve people's well-being, and implemented many measures to benefit the people, increasing citizens' sense of gain. Expenditure related to people's livelihood accounted for 68.2% of government fiscal expenditure. Top 10 livelihood projects were completed smoothly. Zhongshan's urban-rural income ratio ranked top in Guangdong. Zhongshan saw continuous improvement in employment: 61,000 new jobs were provided in urban areas and 9,515 people were employed; employment rate of fresh graduates in Zhongshan reached 97.8%; the registered urban unemployment rate was as low as 2.3%. Zhongshan's social security system saw continuous improvement as well. As settlement model by disease type for medical insurance had been promoted throughout Guangdong, a total of 9.956 million people were covered by the five social insurances; basic pensions for urban and rural residents increased by 9.1%; basic pensions for enterprise employees and retirees from government departments and public institutions was raised by 5.5%; the minimum living standard increased by 42.4%; ratio of residents with financial difficulties who received medical assistance for major and serious diseases increased to over 80%; standard rehabilitation assistance provided for disabled people was significantly enhanced, that for disabled children aged 0-6 was raised to 30,000 yuan, 14 times higher. Construction of government-subsidized housing was advanced solidly, allocating 10,832 public rental housing units and completing 1,635 government-subsidized housing units. Education developed in an all round way: the construction, renovation and expansion of 15 public schools completed; 18 public schools started construction; 15 new public welfare kindergartens were built; 9,745 new standardized kindergarten vacancies were set; Zhongshan's acceptance rate of national college entrance exam, undergraduate applicants and key universities ranked among the top in Guangdong; Sino-German Vocational Training Center finished construction and began enrollment; Zhongshan signed agreement on joint education with Lausanne Hotel School; and solid progress was made in the construction of high-level universities. Medical treatment and public health have been continuously improved: comprehensive medical reform was launched in an all-round way; Xiaolan medical reform experience was recognized by the provincial government and reported by CCTV; 65.9% of target groups signed up for family doctor service; and 129 new private medical institutions were set up. Zhongshan had been steadily promoting the establishment of Food Safety Demonstration City. Besides, 7,000 public bikes were upgraded and put into operation, and 1,000 buses began to offer free WIFI.
The last but not the least, Zhongshan had made progress in social construction. The city won the "National Civilized City" title for the fifth time. It deepened the household registration system reform. A total of 67,000 non-registered residents settled in Zhongshan, and 25,000 migrant workers and their children were entitled to household registration, school enrollment and public rental housing under the point-based household system. Grassroots organization construction was strengthened. Leadership transition of residents' committee was completed in 277 villages; 55 non-registered residents were elected members of the "two committees"; and 565 people were appointed as special members of village (neighborhood) committees. Cultural construction had been promoted solidly. The Chinese Rosewood Culture Expo City in Dachong became a national 4A tourist attraction, and the Museum of Dr Sun Yat-sen became one of the first batch of national tour study bases for young people from Hong Kong and Macao. A total of 56 grass-roots level comprehensive cultural service centers were built, and more than 6,000 cultural activities were held. The sports industry developed vigorously. Zhongshan athletes won a record number of gold medals and medals at the 13th National Games. The 2017 Zhongshan Marathon, Zhongshan Chorus Season and other recreational and sports activities were successfully held. The construction based on "Safe Zhongshan" was deepened, and special operations had been launched to strictly combat violence and terrorism. Therefore, the number of criminal cases dropped by 5.5% and the number of crimes solved increased by 3.4%. Zhongshan ranked 5th among all safest cities in China. It was also rated as an excellent city in the comprehensive management of public security in China for the 6th time and won the Chang'an Cup for the 4th time. The social governance system had been continuously improved. Zhongshan's experience in building harmonious labor relations had been promoted in Guangdong. The comprehensive test site for harmonious labor relations jointly established by the municipal and provincial governments in Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone was launched. Zhongshan responded to extreme weather in a scientific manner and effectively resisted the attack of powerful typhoons such as Typhoon Hato. The targeted poverty alleviation was progressing smoothly. Partner assistance for Chaozhou, Zhaoqing, Gongbujiangda in Tibet, Tumushuke in Xinjiang, Zhaotong in Yunnan, Ganzi in Sichuan, and the partner cooperation with Jiamusi in Heilongjiang had been carried out orderly. New achievements had been made in such areas as inspection and quarantine, production safety, earthquake prevention and disaster reduction, emergency management, ethnic and religious affairs, statistics, national defense construction, marine fishery, aging, women and children, the Red Cross, meteorology, civil air defense, archives and local chronicles.