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Why Study Mandarin in Xiamen?

Ancestral home to many of South East Asia's Chinese communities, Xiamen and surrounding Fujian Province are less visited than other areas, but no less magical. Full of tradition, with sea and mountains near by, you will soon be entranced by the atmosphere in one of China's best kept secrets. Now a hot business center too, Xiamen offers much more than a mysterious history and great scenery: the out-lying areas are full of factories and trading companies selling everything from socks to silver.

Xiamen's Prime Location

Xiamen covers an area of 1,565 square kilometers with a fixed population of 5 million. The city was recently voted China's cleanest city, and has many attractions for the visitor. Gulangyu, also known as Piano Island, is a peaceful getaway with amazing views of the city, 20 minutes ferry ride away. Xiamen's Botanical Garden is a nature lover's paradise and the Buddhist Nanputuo Temple, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, attracts visitors from all over the country. Up the coast are Quanzhou and Putian, the first a trading post dating as far back as the Marco Polo's era, and the second is the birthplace of the goddess of the ocean, Mazu.

Xiamen's Buzzing Economy

Since Xiamen Special Economic Zone was established, it has opened up to foreign direct investment and created many jobs, factories, export opportunities for local companies and multi-national corporations. Xiamen's primary economic activities include fishing, shipbuilding, food processing, tanning, textiles, machine tools manufacturing, chemical industries, financial and telecommunication services. Xiamen is also a favourite destination for foreign investors. By the end of 2000, a total of 4,991 projects with foreign direct investment were approved in the city.

Xiamen in History

Xiamen was the port of trade first used by Europeans in 1541. It was China's main port in the 19th century for exporting tea. As a result, the Amoy (Min Nan) dialect had a major influence on how Chinese terminology was translated into English and other European languages. For example, the words "tea" is te' in the local dialect. Xiamen was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing (signed in 1842) at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China. It was from this time that the historic island of Gulangyu saw its first colonial mansion, and its first of hundreds of pianos are now on display in the Piano Museum on Gulangyu which is the largest museum of its kind in Asia.


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