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Left to right, top to bottom: Nantong skyline on the Hao River, Nantong Bell Tower, more buildings in Nantong, Shuihui Garden, the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge to Changshu.
Location of Nantong City jurisdiction in Jiangsu
Location of Nantong City jurisdiction in Jiangsu
Nantong is located in Jiangsu
Location of the city center in Jiangsu
Nantong is located in Eastern China
Nantong (Eastern China)
Nantong is located in China
Nantong (China)
Coordinates (Nantong municipal government): 31°58′52″N 120°53′38″E / 31.981°N 120.894°E / 31.981; 120.894
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Municipal seatChongchuan District
 • CPC Municipal SecretaryLu Zhipeng (陆志鹏)
 • MayorHan Liming (韩立明)
 • Prefecture-level city8,544.1 km2 (3,298.9 sq mi)
 • Urban
2,840 km2 (1,100 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,840 km2 (1,100 sq mi)
2 m (7 ft)
 (2020 census)[1]
 • Prefecture-level city7,726,635
 • Density900/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
 • Prefecture-level cityCN¥ 1.103 trillion
US$ 164 billion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 142,642
US$ 21,211
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
Postal code
(Urban centre)
(Other areas)
Area code513
ISO 3166 codeCN-JS-06
Major EthnicityHan
County-level divisions8
Township-level divisions146
Licence Plate Prefixes苏F

Nantong[a] is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Jiangsu province, China. Located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, near the river mouth. Nantong is a vital river port bordering Yancheng to the north; Taizhou to the west; Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai to the south across the river; and the East China Sea to the east. Its population was 7,726,635 as of the 2020 census, 3,766,534 of whom lived in the built-up area made up of three urban districts.

In September 26, 2004, the first World Metropolitan Development Forum was held in Nantong. In 2005, Nantong had a GDP growth of 15.4%, the highest growth rate in Jiangsu province, and in 2016 Nantong's GDP had a total of about 675 billion yuan, ranking 21st in the whole country.[citation needed]

Although the city took a blow from the economic depression of the 1930s, as well as the Japanese occupation of the 1930s and 40s, Nantong has remained an important center for the textile industry. Because of its deepwater harbor and connections to inland navigational canals, it was one of 14 port cities opened to foreign investment in recent Chinese economic reforms.

Geography and climate

Nantong (labeled NAN-T'UNG 南通) (1952)
Literal meaningsouthern passage

Because the coast of the East China Sea is constantly expanding eastward as the Yangtze River adds silt to its delta, the distance between Nantong and the seashore is getting longer than it once was in ancient times.[citation needed]

In May 2021, a violent storm hit the city, leaving 11 people dead, and a further 102 people injured. According to authorities, many homes were badly damaged during the storm, and more than 3,000 people were evacuated.[3] They were among many other cities on China's east coast that were affected.

Nantong has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are chilly and damp, and cold northwesterly winds caused by the Siberian high can force temperatures to fall below freezing at night although snowfall is relatively uncommon. Summers are hot and humid, and downpours or freak thunderstorms often occur. Monthly daily average temperatures range from 3.6 °C (38.5 °F) in January to 27.9 °C (82.2 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 16.2 °C (61.2 °F). With the plum rains in June and early July comes the rainiest part of the year.

Climate data for Nantong (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.1
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 7.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 0.7
Record low °C (°F) −8.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 55.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 9.4 9.1 10.8 10.0 10.7 12.7 12.8 11.9 9.2 7.0 8.4 7.2 119.2
Average snowy days 2.6 2.0 0.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0.7 6.2
Average relative humidity (%) 76 76 75 74 75 81 82 83 81 76 76 73 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 131.3 126.6 152.0 176.9 184.0 133.0 183.0 196.1 167.8 167.7 141.0 144.5 1,903.9
Percent possible sunshine 41 40 41 45 43 31 42 48 46 48 45 46 43
Source 1: China Meteorological Administration[4][5]
Source 2: Weather China[6]


Ancient era

Because the coast of the East China Sea is constantly expanding eastward as the Yangtze River adds silt to its delta, the distance between Nantong and the seashore is getting longer than it once was in ancient times.

The area that is now Nantong was originally part of the state of Wu during the Spring and Autumn period, which was later conquered by the state of Yue in 473 BC. After yet again being subjected to a new foreign rule by the state of Chu in 334 BC, the inhabitants of present-day Nantong would again experience another regime change during the first unification of China by the state of Qin.

Imperial era

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Xuanmiao Temple, a Song dynasty architectural relic built in 1009, located in Chongchuan District.

From the Han dynasty up until the Tang dynasty, what is now called Nantong was a minor city county subordinate to Yangzhou. By AD 958, that city county had already gained sufficient importance for it to be upgraded to an independent prefecture called Tongzhou ("Opening Prefecture", possibly from its position near the mouth of the Yangtze) to be created. The increasing wealth of Yangzhou caused Tongzhou to be once again eclipsed as an administrative center in 1368.

When Tongzhou finally regained prefecture status in 1724 during the Qing dynasty, it was renamed to its present name Nantong ("Southern Tong") to avoid confusion with another administrative division also named Tongzhou, located near Beijing.

Modern era

Nantong was the first place in China to be developed into a modern city after the collapse of the Qing dynasty, and was also the birthplace of China's modern industry.[citation needed]

The prosperity of Nantong has traditionally depended on salt production on the nearby seacoast, rice and cotton agriculture, and manufacture of cotton and silk textiles, especially Nantong blue calico.[citation needed] A local statesman and industrialist named Zhang Jian founded Nantong's first modern cotton mills in 1899. He then developed an industrial complex that included flour, oil, and silk reeling mills, a distillery, and a machinery shop.[citation needed] He also founded a shipping line and reclaimed saline agricultural land to the east of Nantong for cotton production. Thanks to these efforts, by 1911 Nantong was commonly called "Zhang Jian's Kingdom". In the early Republican period, the Nantong Special Administrative District included Chongming County, now part of Shanghai.[7]



Main article: Nantong dialect

Nantong city and its six counties (or county-level cities) are rich in linguistic diversity, featuring both important Northern Wu varieties and highly divergent dialects of Mandarin (see Nantong dialect). People in the city of Nantong speak a unique dialect which sounds nothing like standard Mandarin or any other dialect, and it also holds distinctive differences from surrounding dialects. About 2 million people in the southern parts of Tongzhou, Haimen, and Qidong speak the Wu language, the specific local variety of which is often referred to as "Qi-hai Hua" (), meaning Qidong-Haimen speech. It is about the same as the dialect spoken on the neighbouring island of Chongming, Shanghai. People in northern parts of these counties speak the "Tongdong dialect" (Chinese: ; pinyin: Tōngdōnghuà; lit. 'Eastern Tong Talk"'. People in Rugao, Hai'an speak other dialects.


The Hao River, known as the Emerald Necklace of Nantong, surrounds the city with a total length of 15 km (9.3 mi). Most city scenery lines this river.[8]

Nantong skyline seen behind the river Hao

Popular tourist sites include Langshan ("Wolf Hill"), which is around 110 meters high. On top of the hill is a Buddhist temple dedicated to a Song dynasty monk. Because of the monk's legendary powers over water demons, sailors pray to him for protection on their voyages.[citation needed]

The Cao Gong Zhu Memorial Temple commemorates a local hero who defended the city against Japanese pirates in 1557.[citation needed]

Shuihuiyuan Garden, meaning Water Garden, is unique of all Chinese classical gardens due its creation in the Hui style. It includes the tombs of several notable people, such as Luo Binwang, a famous poet of the Tang dynasty; Wen Tianxiang, the national hero of the Nansong dynasty; and Zhang Jian, the top scholar of the late Qing dynasty, who was a modern industrialist and supporter of education.[citation needed]


Ferry on Yangtze River near Nantong

Nantong was historically known as an agricultural area and a traditional site for salt-making.[citation needed] Its principal agricultural products include cotton, silk, rice, wheat, fishing, fruits, rice wine, and more. Currently, the city is making efforts to upgrade its farming sectors and increase production of organic foods.[citation needed]

Nantong is one of the 14 port cities opened to foreign investment projects under China's current policies of modernization. Nantong was traditionally an industrial city, especially around the turn of the 20th century, specializing in salt and cotton textile production. Today's industrial corporations have made Nantong into an industrial hub since it opened its door to the outside world in the 1990s. With its excellent geographic location and the completion of two Yangtze River bridges, the prefecture is attracting more investment funding nationwide.[citation needed] Many of these investments come from international corporations. In October 2007, Singapore RGM International signed an agreement with Rudong, a county under Nantong's jurisdiction, to invest in a port project, costing 9 billion Yuan or US$1.33 billion, at Rudong Yangkou Port.[citation needed]

View of Guangxiao Temple and Wolf Hill, Chongchuan District

Today, Nantong is one of many fast-growing coastal cities in China.[citation needed] With the opening of Sutong Bridge in April 2008 and Chonghai Bridge in 2009, the city has been listed as the number one city in the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone for foreign investment, surpassing its rivals Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing.[citation needed]

As a sprawling metropolis, Nantong has experienced environment damage from its industrialization as well. The municipal government has been putting stiffer environmental policies into practice over the years and has spent tremendous amounts of money to curb pollution and plant more trees along its roads. The city is active in shutting down factories that do not meet its environment laws.[citation needed]

Nantong has developed rapidly in the last 25 years, as have most of the cities in the Yangtze River Delta. Nantong's rapid economic growth is generally attributed to its advantageous location just north of Shanghai. Nantong's Sutong Bridge is expected to further Nantong's integration with Shanghai, cutting transportation time between the cities down from three hours to one hour.[9]

The shipping corporation Cosco has a large port and ship repair yard on the river. Cosco (Nantong) Shipyard Co., Ltd, the first shipyard of the Cosco group, has placed itself adjacent to the busy port of Nantong. The yard has 1120 m of coastline and is equipped with one cape-size and one panamax size floating dock. Cosco Shipyard handles approximately 150 vessels per year.[10] Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries originally operated a shipyard in Nantong, but declared bankruptcy in 2014.[11] Minde's parent company, Jiangsu Sainty Marine Corporation, would cease operations in 2017.[12]

Some companies in Nantong:[13]

Industrial zones

Established in January 2012 under the State-level development zone standard, Nantong Binhai Park is directly governed and intensively invested by the Nantong Municipality, shares superior policies and occupies a land area as much as 820 km2 (320 sq mi). Binhai park is located at 50 km (31 mi) east to Nantong downtown, nearly 1.5 hrs drive to Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao airports. Binhai park possesses unique transportation conditions both in expressways (Tongyang to Nantong downtown, Haiqi to Qidong and Shanghai Pudong) and sea ports (500 berths from 50,000 tons to 300,000 tons in Tongzhou Bay port cluster). Binhai park's industries focus on maritime & offshore, logistics, equipment manufacturing, new energy, advanced materials, electronics, etc.

Established in 1984, Nantong Economic & Technological Development Area (NETDA) was one of the first state-level development zones approved by the Chinese Central Government and has been certified as an ISO 14000 National Demonstration Zone. The zone benefits from superior transportation facilities by both rail and road. NETDA has direct links to two railways: the Xinyi-Changxing Railway and the Nanjing-Qidong Railway. Su-Tong Yangtze River Bridge feeds into the center of NETDA and connects the Nanjing-Nantong and Yancheng-Nantong Expressways to the north, and Shanghai-Nanjing and Suzhou-Jiaxing-Hangzhou Expressways and Riverside Expressways to the south.

NETDA includes several subsidiary zones including Nantong Export Processing Zone, New Material Park, Opto-mechatronics Industrial Park and NETDA Business Park. Special incentives are offered for investments in areas of modern equipment manufacturing, such as in new materials, engineering, fine chemicals, new medicines, new energy and modern services. At present, NETDA has attracted a large number of renowned companies to settle in Nantong, such as Vonnex Allied IT Services, OJI Paper, Maxion, Johnson Controls, ITOCHU, TSRC Corporation, and Merck KGaA.[15][16]

Established in 2009, STP is one of the key projects of Jiangsu Province coastal development. It's also a joint-venture park between Suzhou and Nantong, linking them on either side of the Yangtze River. The intended area is 50 km2 (19 sq mi) and is to be developed in three phases. It claims the project as "An International Enterprise Park and Eco-friendly City in Yangtze Delta".

Nantong Export Processing Zone (NTEPZ) is situated in the Nantong Economic and Technological Development Area with a planned area of 2.98 km2 (1.15 sq mi). The Tong-Qi canal marks its western and northern boundaries, with Dongfang Avenue and Fuxin Road its eastern and southern boundaries respectively. NTPEZ is located at a communication hub, adjoining the main coastal artery of communications between north and south, close to the estuary of the Yangtze River, only 8 kilometers to the Su(Suzhou)-Tong(Nangtong) Changjiang Bridge.[18]


See also: List of administrative divisions of Jiangsu

The prefecture-level city of Nantong administers seven county-level divisions, including three districts, three county-level cities, and one county.

These are further divided into 146 township-level divisions.

Administrative divisions of Nantong
Subdivision Chinese (S) Pinyin Postal Population
(2020 census)[19]
Area (km2) Density (/km2)
Chongchuan District 崇川区 Chóngchuān Qū 226000 1,516,013 564.1 2,687
Tongzhou District 通州区 Tōngzhōu Qū 226300 1,258,739 1,432 879.0
Haimen District 海门区 Hǎimén Qū 226100 991,782 1,138 871.5
Rudong County 如东县 Rúdōng Xiàn 226400 880,006 2,252 390.8
Satellite cities (County-level cities)
Qidong City 启东市 Qǐdōng Shì 226200 972,525 1,714.59 567.21
Rugao City 如皋市 Rúgāo Shì 226500 1,238,448 1,579 784.3
Hai'an City 海安市 Hǎi'ān Shì 226600 874,334 1,152 759.0
Total 7,726,635 9,802 788.3



Nantong Xingdong International Airport, located in the town of Xingdong in Tongzhou District, 9.8 kilometers northeast of city center and 120 kilometers from Shanghai, serves Nantong and its neighboring areas. The construction of terminal 2 was completed in 2014, marking an important step towards serving international flights,[20] the first of which took place on 26 May, 2023, to Hong Kong.[21]


Nantong has two bridges across the Yangtze to the south. The Chongming–Qidong Yangtze River Bridge, completed in 2011, carries the G40 Shanghai–Xi'an Expressway from Qidong to Chongming Island. The Sutong Yangtze River Bridge, which carries the G15 Shenyang–Haikou Expressway from Nantong to Changshu, was completed in 2008 and is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world.


The Nanjing-Qidong (Ningqi) and Xinyi-Changxing (Xinchang) railways intersect at Hai'an in the northwestern part of Nantong Prefecture. The Nantong–Shanghai railway opened in 2020 with the Hutong Yangtze River Bridge and provides a link south to Suzhou and Shanghai.

Currently, Nantong Railway station and Hai'An railway station have the highest train volume in the city. Due to the single-track nature of the Nanjing-Qidong railway east of Nantong railway station, Electrified Multiple Unit service are not available beyond Nantong railway station; Qidong railway station currently receives 4 round trip trains per day operated as "K" trains. A line from Hai'an also connects Rudong county to the national rail network, with daily departures bounding for Nanjing.

The first line of the Nantong Metro opened in 2022.[22]


The bell tower in the campus of Nantong Middle School

Nantong hosts a comprehensive university, Nantong University (made by the merger of the former Nantong Medical College, former Nantong Normal College, and former Nantong Engineer College). It includes 21 schools and had around 22,000 registered students in 2007.

Nantong has contributed to China's educational development with several firsts: establishment of the first school for teacher training, the first folk museum (Nantong Museum[23]), the first school for industrial textile manufacturing, the first school for embroidery, the first drama school, and the first school for the deaf and the blind.[24][25][26]

Zhang Jian founded the first normal school in modern China, Nantong Normal College. Zhang also founded museums, libraries, and theaters, making Nantong into an important cultural center.

Social Welfare Institute

Location of Nantong Social Welfare Institute

Established in 1906, Nantong Social Welfare Institute was originally created by Zhang Jian as a house for orphans, the aged, and the disabled.

Located on the banks of the Haohe, the site of the institute has an area of 13.2 mu (8,800 m²). At present,[when?] there are 79 staff members who care for around 170 orphans, widows, and disabled children, plus 70 retirees.[citation needed] Since 1952, Nantong Social Welfare Institute has adopted more than 16,000 elderly, orphaned and disabled children.[29]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Chinese: 南通; pinyin: Nántōng; alternate names: Nan-t'ung, Nantung, Tongzhou, or Tungchow; Qihai dialect: [nie tʰoŋ]


  1. ^ "China: Jiāngsū (Prefectures, Cities, Districts and Counties) – Population Statistics, Charts and Map".
  2. ^ "存档副本". Archived from the original on 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  3. ^ "China storm: Eleven dead and thousands evacuated after massive thunderstorm hits Nantong".
  4. ^ 中国气象数据网 – WeatherBk Data (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Experience Template" 中国气象数据网 (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  6. ^ 南通 - 气象数据 -中国天气网 (in Chinese). Weather China. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  7. ^ "Chongming County" in the Encyclopedia of Shanghai, pp. 50 ff. Archived 2013-03-02 at the Wayback Machine Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers (Shanghai), 2010. Hosted by the Municipality of Shanghai.
  8. ^ "A paradise on the water". China Daily. 2007-01-08. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  9. ^ Jiao, Xiaoyang (June 19, 2007). "New milestone for record-breaking bridge". China Daily. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  10. ^ [1] Archived February 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Mingde Heavy Declares Bankruptcy". 3 August 2015. Archived from the original on 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  12. ^ "Sainty Marine quits shipbuilding business". 10 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  13. ^ Nantong at Curlie
  14. ^ Liu, Baijia (April 9, 2007). "High stakes chips". China Daily. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
  15. ^ "Jiangsu Industrial Park-Nantong Economic & Technological Development Area (NETDA) – China Industrial Space". Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  16. ^ Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (15 November 2013). "Merck Strengthens its Presence in China with New Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility". Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "Invest in Nantong-China Singapore Sutong Science & Technology Park | China Industrial Space". Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  18. ^ "Nantong Export Processing Zone". Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  19. ^ "China: Jiāngsū (Prefectures, Cities, Districts and Counties) - Population Statistics, Charts and Map".
  20. ^ Pan Dongdong (潘冬冬); Ma Jun (马骏). 南通兴东机场2号航站楼正式试运行. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  21. ^ Hossack, Frank (26 May 2023). "First Flight between Northern Jiangsu and Hong Kong Takes to Skies". The Nanjinger. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  22. ^ "刚刚,南通轨交1号线通车!_要闻_新闻中心_长江网" [Just now, Nantong Rail Transit Line 1 opened to traffic!]. (in Chinese). Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  23. ^ 南通博物苑. Archived from the original on 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  24. ^ "China Daily reference for First school of Embroidery, textile and drama". Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  25. ^ [2] Archived August 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ 南通大学-英文版. Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  27. ^ 百年名校—江苏省南通中学. Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  28. ^ 网站首页-江苏省南通第一中学. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  29. ^ "南通市社会福利院 – 直属机构及职能". Retrieved 2021-12-03.

Further reading